July 15

“The Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you indeed love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul.”  Deuteronomy 13:3

“We know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”  Romans 5:3-4

History knows lots of “characters” … people who have suffered much – one thing after another, living a downward spiral; but who manage to open their eyes each morning, put one foot in front of the other, and somehow endure another day.  Frankly, I have no idea how I might respond to such persistent adversity, not until I am faced with the same awful situation.  I see myself crying for help, for mercy.  Like Tevye (“Fiddler on the Roof”), I too might question God:  “Would it spoil some vast eternal plan if I were” …..… less tested?  I want solutions.  I want (“right”) answers (now).  I want to pass the test ….. and the test to pass.

We try to go it alone, muddle along, look to on our own strength to fight our way through and persevere – “pull ourselves up by the bootstraps”.  Not me; I want/need some help.  My hope and trust are based on the grace and presence of God.  And I humbly acknowledge it is not my own “character” but that of others – their support, encouragement and comfort, that lifts me up and passes along some answers.

Modern-day trials of Job … the fear of unfamiliar surroundings and non-acceptance, the loneliness of loss and grief, the consequences of a bad decision, fear of oppression and violence have no quick solution and can be lifelong.  We can offer compassion and hope to others in their suffering, bend down and help them pull on those boots; just as others, through God’s grace, have done for us.

“Blessed be the Lord, my Rock … my rock and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge …” (Psalm 144:1-2).  Stay with me in the dark times.  Thank you for the “angels” you send, who share your message of comfort and peace, and lift me up.  Amen

Verla Olson