ENCOURAGEMENT DURING DIFFICULT TIMES
In talking to many people, listening to the radio and TV, it is so easy to be lonely, discouraged or afraid. We also tend to worry more about older friends, parents or the stress our children are going through especially if they have children they are helping with schooling at home. Many are working from home and expected to help with the education of their children they normally do not have to do.
It has been heavy on my heart that many are sad and lonely. It’s not a big secret that the pandemic has had a lot to do with it. What a year 2020 has been, not just here in the United Sates but around the world. Then to top it off with it being an election year here in the United States which can add more stress typically along with a virus going on.
What actually surprises me is, those who I have thought have had a lot of people in their lives, are just as lonely as those who have few. Many people live alone and their phones rarely ring. Those with lots of people in their lives, everyone thinks the ‘other’ person will call them. I have to admit, that sometimes has been me. However, as I am calling others, I’m truly listening to what they are saying. With the pandemic and so many things being closed down or open as long as the weather is nice, effects how often they get together.
Many of us have been in a place where we feel there is no hope. Many of the great leaders of the Bible felt this way. David cries out to God in Psalms 25 verses 16 – 21 (ESV Version) which reads: Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses. Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins. Consider how many are my foes, and with what violent hatred they hate me. Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me! Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you.
May I suggest you make a list of those who you know who live alone, are in a nursing home or assisted living or are just normally very quiet and do not reach out to others. It doesn’t mean they are not lonely, but may just want someone to talk to. This doesn’t mean any of us have to be on the phone all the time. Perhaps just call one person a day or every other day. Or check with others who know the same people you do and divide the list. Perhaps drop a card in the mail.
God is always on our side no matter what we are going through. Part of the Great Commission in Matthew 28:20 (ESV Version) reads: And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. What an amazing promise even when we are going through times of loneliness! Even though there have been changes in how we handle events at our places of worship, God is still with us and encourages us to help one another.
Even though things are tough and we get sad, remember God does provide. Romans 8:28 (NIV Version) reads: And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. I understand we get worried on how we will handle things, but God promises us He is there for us.
Probably one of my favorite passages in the scripture comes from the Old Testament and is well known by a lot of us. It has such a promise of God being there for us each step of the way. We just need to believe! It is from Psalms 23 and is written by the profit David. It reads: The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Let me encourage you if you are feeling sad and lonely to reach out for help. Give a friend a call or talk to your pastor, priest or rabbi.
Blessings to each of you…