For anyone reading this blog post, this year has been a doozy! The year 2020 may well be remembered as a time that most of us want to forget!
Not only have we dealt with a global health crisis, riots and looting, we on the West Coast have dealt with the largest fire season in our history!
This doesn't even include the hurricanes rumbling toward the gulf coast of the U.S.
Instead of offering solutions, the best thing to offer at this moment is help and hope.
One of the best scriptures to read and lean on during this time is from the Apostle Paul, who himself knew what troubles were. In 2nd Corinthians 1, verses 3-4, he writes:
Praise to the God of All Comfort
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
Our Lord knows what it's like to go through distressing times with us. He's seen it all and loves us through it. You don't need to worry that God understands, because He does.
He raised Lazarus from the dead, He suffered when His closest friends fell asleep before He was to go to the cross, and He was wounded when all of His disciples who had spent three years in close friendship with Him, deserted Him at His greatest hour of need. He understands!
The next thing I want to encourage you with is to pray! Spend time in prayer for others, for hope, for encouragement, and for yourself.
The brother of Jesus wrote about prayer in the book of James, Chapter 5, verses 13-16:
The Power of Prayer
13 Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. 14 Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven. 16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.
Read that last sentence again "The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results."
What we need right now is more prayer and less worry. You too can affect drastic and wonderful change through offering up your heart's cries to God. He's ready to listen, always!
Let me close with the story of Horatio Spafford. Mr. Spafford was born in 1828 and was a prominent lawyer and elder of his church. He had vast real estate holdings in Chicago.
During 1871, he lost most of the holdings that he had invested in during the great Chicago fire. This isn't the end of Horatio's troubles though.
You see, Horatio was married and had four daughters. He was also a friend of the prominent evangelist Dwight L. Moody who lived in England.
In 1873, the family planned a visit to D.L. Moody's country via a cruise across the Atlantic Ocean.
Horatio sent his wife and daughters ahead of him as he had many legal dealings to take care of due to damage from the fire.
On November 22, 1873, the ship that his wife and four daughters were on was struck by another vessel killing 226 of the people onboard including his daughters. Upon arriving in England, his wife sent a telegram to Horatio stating only: "Saved alone."
Despite the tragedy during his time of grief, Horatio wrote the compelling hymn: It is well with my soul.
The first verse and chorus are as follows:
When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
It is well, (it is well),
With my soul, (with my soul)
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
May you be encouraged today that whatever has come or may come your way, that because of Jesus, it is well with your soul.