Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Walking through the store today I spotted a little boy - tiny little guy - but old enough to understand how a gumball machine works.  I heard his mother calling to him, but he was distracted by the colorful array of candy inside the machine.  He kept cranking the handle over and over although he didn't have any money in the slot.  He probably thought there was a chance if he just kept cranking it he would be rewarded with a gumball.  Well, it could happen..

Likewise I've seen children ask their parents repeatedly for something they want.  They don't give up too easily, apparently believing if they ask enough times they will be rewarded.  And while a child may be deeply disappointed by a negative reaction, that does not change their love and trust for a parent.

In a similar way things in life work out for us favorably at times in ways that seem unusual and even miraculous and we give thanks to God.  Or there are times we go to the Lord again and again with a request believing that God is hearing our prayers.  But what about those situations that are so very hard for us to wait through?  What about those times when things do not look good at all?  And what about those times when not only do things not look good, but the situation is actually getting worse?  How do we cope with that?

I'm not breaking new ground here because scripture tells us clearly what to do, but it's always good to remind ourselves.  When those times of discouragement come, and they almost certainly will, we must remember that we have an assurance the world cannot know unless they too come into a relationship with Christ.  We're not simply waiting and hoping for the best, but we are using our faith, believing with faith, praying with faith, and speaking our faith.  Faith undoubtedly is of monumental importance; I would think that anyone who reads scripture would have to agree.  Jesus made the statement to those he healed, "Your faith has made your well."  And scripture tells us also that the lack of faith of some was a definite problem.

One very important way to show our faith is to give praise to God always.  In good times, and in difficult times, praise God, with all our heart.  That is good for our spirit because we are receiving God's love from the life-giving inflow of God's Holy Spirit.  God's Spirit is always with us and it is important for us to fully reside with God's Spirit.  If we look at the Book of Acts and the words Jesus spoke to the disciples, clearly it is understood that we require the "power" of God's Spirit within our lives.

And so this is how we cope and find strength through all things in life.  God's love is ever present and without end.  He "will not leave us or forsake us."  Regardless of what the situation looks like, we can know that God has it in hand.  Jesus spoke of the faith of a child because for them faith comes so naturally.  We can turn to God and he understands.  There is a beautiful old hymn that comes to mind - "Trust and Obey."  and that's our part, to trust and obey.  God will surely "show us the way."