by Brenda Mitchell Antle, CCPC member (married to Rudy)

Last summer, I was given the extraordinary opportunity to travel with a team to the country of Lebanon for the purpose of teaching English and working with Syrian refugees.  While there, we lived in dormitories provided by the local church which operates not only a school within its facilities, but also has built two additional schools within the Syrian refugee camps.

On Sundays, our team members attended the worship services with this church family.  The Pastor’s sermons were always heartfelt and seemed so attuned to the critical needs of his congregation.  Because of the ongoing wars in Syria, many of his congregants had lost everything:  homes, possessions, businesses, parts, or in some cases, all of their families and their homeland!

Yet, through God’s Word, the pastor provided comfort and hope in the midst of such devastation.  Even though it also gave me comfort and hope, never did it once occur to me that in less than one year, I would witness, to some degree, some of these losses in my own country.

Recently, I’ve been reminded, more than once, of one of this pastor’s sermons entitled:  “What do you do when your pillars fall down?”

In his sermon, he listed these earthly “Pillars” on which we typically rely:

  1. Financial (Bank Accounts/Stock Markets)
  2. Justice/Fairness
  3. Health/Youth
  4. Social/Family Relationships

For his listeners in Lebanon then, the devastations of war had been the reason for their “pillars falling down.” Now, in our country and other countries around the world, the Pandemic has toppled many of our “pillars!” However, just  as this pastor in Lebanon provided the message of hope……we too, are given that same hope through God’s Word.

 “Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.” (Psalms 31:24)

 “For I the Lord your God will hold your right hand, saying unto you, fear not, I will help you.” (Isaiah 41:13)

The people of Lebanon continue to suffer today.  Currently, 50% are unemployed and 30% are experiencing starvation!  Yet this faithful pastor and his congregation continue to minister. They now deliver weekly Food Baskets to families in need. Their most recent endeavor has been to convert a piece of land that, “had been provided by God for building purposes,” into farming to grow a variety of vegetables that will be distributed to those in need.  As quoted by this Lebanese Pastor: “God had a different purpose in mind for this property.”

architectural photography of buildingMy prayer

Dear father, forgive me

…when I am tempted to complain that our children are completing their school year with distanced learning and inconvenient methods. Help me to be grateful for technology and methodology that enables their continued education. Remind me of those children in Lebanon who have no means to complete their school year, and others who have far less than we do.

Dear father, forgive me

…when I am tempted to complain that I am unable to go to my favorite restaurant and order my favorite food to be served to me. Or unable to enjoy the close communion with friends and family. Help me to be grateful for the abundance and choice of foods that I am given. Remind me of those in the world who are starving.

Dear father, forgive me

…when I am tempted to complain that I’m not as free to leave my home and enjoy the many activities and places that I did before. Help me to be grateful for having a home, a place of safety and shelter. Remind me of those in the world (Syria/Lebanon and others) who have lost their homes and security of their homeland.

Dear father, forgive me

…when I am tempted to complain that I cannot assemble together at church, worship together and sing together with friends. Help me to be grateful for our pastors and leaders who work to keep us connected through technology and the many activities for involvement. Remind me that WE are the church—not the building—and we are free to worship and sing praises at any moment of any day!

Dear Father, forgive me

….when I am tempted to be overcome with confusion, isolation, fear or concern for my future. Help me to be grateful and to remember your promises that provide comfort, hope and peace in EVERY circumstance, both now and forever. Amen.

 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear.” (Psalm 46: 1-2a)

 “Cast all your care upon him; for he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) 

 

 

is troubling season of Social Distancing due to Covid-19.
Jesus is the answer to lasting hope in this time, and we can live unafraid.
To receive these daily encouragements please email Samantha Hall