Think for a moment about a time in your life when you found yourself in a tight spot. What were the circumstances? Who was a part of it? Who helped you and who didn’t?
Post high school I bounced around like a ping pong ball trying to decide what to do. One path that I pursued was attending Bible College but in 1980 that was easier said than done. I made it one full semester but ran out of money. I heard that a few of my college friends were headed to western Oklahoma where they planned on trying to get on with an oil drilling platform crew. It evidently paid really well. I joined them . . . for nine days. At the end of my nine days I had been to every oil rig in the Oklahoma panhandle but no opening was available. I called my parents and asked for a bus ticket home as my Christmas gift – they obliged. With no foreseeable career path in sight, a few days after Christmas and the New Year, I was at the Air Force recruiting station to enlist.
Somewhere along the line nearly all of us find ourselves in a tight spot. And when we do, we are fortunate if we have family and/or good friends who step up to help. They are the angels of God who come to help with the burden and lighten the load. Unfortunately, not all of us have a support system that can help deliver us. There are some of us who have or will who go through tough situations alone.
One image that the Bible casts is of God who is a consistent companion. God shows up to bring us out of tough spots so that we might be brought into new and maybe better circumstances. And God can do this for all – not just us.
I encourage you to take time and read each of the scriptures above as you move into reflections on the questions below. I hope that they will guide you in reflection and action as you seek to experience God who delivers you to greater faith, trust, and obedience. I also pray that God bless the reading of God’s Word and the meditations of your heart.
- Name a struggle that you found yourself in the middle of – how did you get out of it?
- What resources are readily available to you that ensure you do not find yourself down and out?
- Do you know someone who is down on their luck or who has a diagnosis that is making it difficult for them to be full and active participants in life? What resources are they lacking?
- How much of your stress, anxiety, or worry is centered on yourself? How much of it is rooted in someone else?
- What are the ways in which you keep connected to God and a faith community?
- What are the ways in which you disconnect from God and others?
- In what ways is God using you as an agent of deliverance?
- How are you telling or showing others that God is on their side?
- When was the last time you invited someone to join you in serving the unfortunate and under-resourced in our community?
O Lord, grant that we may not be conformed to the world, but may love it and serve in it. Grant that we may never shrink from being the instruments of Thy peace because of the judgment of the world. Grant that we may love Thee without fear of the world. Grant that we may never believe that the inexpressible majesty of thyself may be found in any power of this earth. May we love you more and our neighbors as ourselves. May we remember the poor and the prisoner and the sick and the lonely, and the young searchers, and the tramps and vagabonds, and the lost and the lonely, as we remember Christ, who is in them all. And may we this coming day be able to do some work of peace for you. Amen. (by Alan Paton)