Ladies, how have your quiet time efforts been? I've been praying for you. Have you had time with your LORD lately… reading His Word and praying? I hope so. If not, please be encouraged to read my column from last time that is archived here at this site.
During this time of sorrow and grief, the anniversary of 9/11, it is easy to be fearful, or distressed. Do you find yourself like that? You don't have to be.
Today, after viewing the ceremony on TV at the newly renovated Pentagon, I was blessed with this picture:
Two boys: one was happily swinging in a hammock, while his younger brother was sitting on the floor of their tree house nearby, swinging his feet as he gleefully chatted with his brother. The weather was beautiful… the heavens, a deep sky blue with billowing white clouds, the wind whipping the American flag out front, and the sun beating down creating mid-70's temperatures. The humidity was low… the atmosphere in the backyard under the trees was one of delight. These were two of my boys, eating their lunch outside. Warm homemade bread, slathered with butter and cinnamon, along with apples and refreshing cold water. They were happy. They were content.
Earlier in the day, I had had a feeling of hopelessness. As I watched the ceremonies on TV and thought about the horrific pictures we saw one year ago, I again feared for my children's future. "What are they in store for? What will their future hold?"
But now, looking out my window, somehow God has given me a picture of refreshing hope. As the boys cheerfully played, and as I prayed for them, I remembered the verse in Psalm 97:9… "For Thou art the LORD Most High over all the earth; Thou art exalted far above all the splendor of holiness."
Even though certain dreadful things happen, God is still sovereign, in control! I must rest in that.
Through all of these thoughts today, I have been reminded that it's all in my focus. We can choose what we think about, what we allow our mind to dwell on, and the focus we have. From what I have learned about the human mind, we cannot stop a thought, but we can replace it. There is no better focus to have, no better words to replace our bad thoughts, than those of God's Word! Look at these verses…
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. …brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things."
These are some great verses for meditating upon and memorizing! We will have peace when we are anxious for nothing, when we pray, and then when we dwell on what is true and pure.
If we focus on our mission, it allows us to forget about our fears. Take Paul for an example. He endured much hardships for the cause of his mission. (see 2Cor. 11:22-33 and the verses below from Acts 14:19-22.)
"… they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. But while the disciples stood around him, he arose and entered the city. And the next day he went away with Barnabas to Derbe. And after they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, "Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God."
They left Paul for dead… now that's pretty drastic! He must have been suffering and hurting, fearful for his very life! But even so, he pressed on, trusting the Lord.
Think too, of the focus of the firefighters as they entered the towers on 9/11/01. It was their mission. They put aside their fears and went ahead with their job, even though they knew it might cost them their lives, which it did.
Ladies, we have an awesome responsibility to raise our boys to follow Christ in a world that is unstable and uncertain. We must carry out our mission, the great commission, right in our homes with our children, demonstrating zeal for the Lord despite the circumstances around us. And if we focus on God's Word and seek Him... even if there is chaos elsewhere, we can have peace in your hearts!
It sounds easy, but it'll take some self-discipline and hard work, as we trust the Lord. We need to help our future generation (our boys!) to make a commitment to study God's word, to fill our minds with it, and to dwell on His things, especially in times of distress.