"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
March 25, 2020
Several years ago on a beautiful fall day, Jon and I decided to get away for the weekend. We took a scenic drive and the fall foliage was very colorful and gorgeous. The weather was warm and sunny and it was an absolutely perfect day.
We had an idea of where we wanted to spend the night, but hadn't made reservations ahead of time, thinking that we'd have no problem finding a room. Unknowingly to us, there was a huge motorcycle convention going on, and there was not a vacant room to be had. After driving around the entire town seeing "No Vacancy" signs. or going in and asking to only be told that they were full up, we were getting cranky and tired. It was starting to get dark and we were hungry and I was needing to find a restroom.
We pulled into a fast food restaurant and I ran in to use the bathroom while Jon waited in the car. We picked up food and ate while we were driving.
We drove several miles to the next town, thinking we could find a room there, only to arrive and find that a hot air balloon festival was taking place; therefore, there were no vacancies there either. By this time we were getting short with each other due to our frustration. We were aggravated that we hadn't called ahead to make a reservation, but had no idea that we'd have any problem finding a hotel.
By this time, it was getting late and all we wanted to do was go home and sleep in our own bed, so that is what we did.
On the drive home, we realized that due to our plans not going as we had thought they would, it had caused us to forget about the rest of the day and how enjoyable it had been. We had begun to focus on everything that was going wrong, and out of our frustration had begun to get short-tempered with one another. We were allowing this to spoil an otherwise perfect day. Our problem overshadowed everything else we had experienced earlier in the day; therefore, our focus had been redirected to the problem instead of the blessing of the day. We had to change our attitude and focus, apologize to each other, and remember how wonderful our day had truly been.
During our life we can be going along with everything being smooth and no bumps in the road. Suddenly, all of our best-laid plans are disrupted and we find ourselves in a situation that we never wanted or thought we'd be in. What is our focus when that happens? It is on the problem or on the blessings which God has bestowed upon us?
Each of our lives have been affected these past few days by this virus. It's not something we planned on or thought would hit our nation; yet here we are having to practice social distancing, dealing with schools and businesses being closed, taking precautions, not being able to find toilet paper and other items, etc.
If we aren't careful, the problem and the results of that problem become bigger than God. We become consumed with talking and reading about it, and it becomes our main focus.
The truth is, we can use wisdom and caution without fear. And I encourage you to do so. It is not a lack of faith or trust in God to take precautions. We can see the extra time at home with family as a blessing, not something that has to be endured and a hardship. We pray for God's protection, pray for this virus to be stopped, and pray for one another.
We can make God our focus and bigger than what is happening in our lives and our world. We choose to see the blessing of each day and focus on the goodness of our Father!
I was born shortly before the last American draft had ended. Of course I was too young. We've had wars and conflicts that weren't legally "wars" since then, but my generation in America hasn't really experienced war like all those before us have. Good citizens gave up several years of their lives, and some their lives, to volunteer and fight for our nation. But we haven't had to open the mailbox fearing a dreaded draft letter for ourselves or our family.
So, I can't speak from close experience, but I suspect the general sense of fear around the world is similar. Instead of going to bed wondering if our town will be attacked or our brother sent into battle, we wonder if our town will be hit, or our brother get sick with a virus.
God has gotten our nation through one war after another, and will get us through this. More importantly, He has already provided for our eternal lives to get through everything, even death. So it is wise to be cautious, but we don't need to fret or lose faith, no matter what happens.
Rich and Moist Chocolate Cake
1 box chocolate cake mix
1 small package instant chocolate pudding
4 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 to 1-1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 pan.
Mix all ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, together until well mixed. Gently fold in chocolate chips.
Bake for 30-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
After cake has cooled, use either canned or homemade frosting for the top.
We are living in a time that is unusual to my generation and those younger. Perhaps some of the older folk can remember similar times, due to war; but we are dealing with a situation that is unlike any we've dealt with for many years.
I encourage you to please take this virus serious and practice social distancing. It may not be about you, but about others who have been infected or have weak immune systems. We certainly don't want to be exposed, then carry the virus to family and friends. It is not a lack of faith or trust in God's protection to take precautions and use wisdom.
I best heard it explained like this: "I trust God... and I wear a seatbelt. I trust God... and I wear a motorcycle helmet. I trust God... and there are enough life jackets in my boat for everyone. I trust God... and I use oven mitts with really hot dishes. I trust God... and I lock my house at night. I trust God... and I have smoke detectors in my house. I trust God... and I take my prescribed medicines. Acting with caution and wisdom does not indicate a lack of trust in God."
With church doors closing all across America,
it is time for us to show that the church has never been about the building.
WE are the church! - unknown
We love you!
Loretta & Jon