I recently read an article about how to stay optimistic in troubling times.
As a young kid in rural Wisconsin farm country during the late 50’s and early 60’s I remember so many hard working farmers and small town people just trying to make it through day after day.
These were pre-pandemic, pre-Internet and long before the most bitter rancor of politicians, countless make-a-buck news services spread as much sludge, horror stories (though often true enough) and algorithms with mountains of click-bait were the daily common fodder.
And yet people got ill and couldn’t afford health insurance, lost their jobs, alcoholism wasn’t at all unusual and on occasion, suicides. Adultery and divorce weren’t unheard of but were less prevalent -or not the norm in those times.
According to the Book of Genesis troubling times began in a garden. Then came a flood -and an ark. Don’t forget… an ark.
One comment from a respondent in the article I read talked about working for a non-profit that teaches gardening to families which provides both food and flowers.
I suggest we all need food and at least some sort of “flowers” including the real ones to “make it through” a lifetime and world that often includes betrayal, bombs, indifference and hard, tragic weather.
I’ve always loved the Great Lakes (huge freshwater inland seas in the north of the U.S.) and recently returned from a trip to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula which I’ve spent quite a bit of time in over the years including music tours and mission.
Wendi and I stayed at a hotel on the Lake Michigan waterfront. I decided to once again study the U.P.’s history and of course immigration, mining and maritime service included pains, accidents, shipwrecks, stories of rescue and death -it’s all part of life.
When I reflect on the shipwrecks I’ve personally experienced in loss of family, friends, seeing the struggle for survival, addiction issues and various lives full of depression, doubt, lack of the Savior and a sort of tail-chasing to find or create meaning and purpose for life I also remember that we were created for God and others, not merely ourselves.
“In the world you shall have tribulation” said Jesus. “But be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” is how He ended that discourse.
When my Dad had a series of operations, our family lived for the most part in a subsistence way hunting, fishing and so forth. I look back at hard but incredibly important lessons, and also recognize the grace of God even during those lean times.
Something that comes to mind is that while in the water over my head I learned to hold my breath, and then surface. I learned early on how to swim.
There isn’t a person on earth who doesn’t “get over their heads in the water” sometimes!
The beauty and wonder is that with Jesus, no matter the depth, we never swim alone.
The One Who formed both us, the deep and shallow waters is THE Expert not only in survival but teaching us to flourish.
May God give you the grace to recognize, believe and walk in relationship with Him.
As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn