I recently saw a quote from Mr. Rogers that inspired me. “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my Mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” What a beautiful way to encourage a young child, or anyone for that matter, when we look around and see frightening things taking place in our world. As I’m writing this, there is a world-wide pandemic going on; many cities are dealing with riots, looting, and protesting; it’s hurricane season; kids are going back to school part-time and wearing masks; fires raging in several areas; businesses are being rebuilt and trying to survive, while some have closed their doors for good; and there is a tumultuous election on the horizon. Are we to think that hard times are new to this generation? Ecclesiastes 1:9 reminds us, “That which has been is that which will be, and that which has been done is that which will be done. So, there is nothing new under the sun.” This world will be filled with its troubles. The faces will change but trying times will be with us on this earth. 1 Peter 4:12 adds, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you.”
So once again we turn to the Scriptures for our strength. Time after time we read about struggles that our ancestors endured. Whether we read about a woman returning to her homeland without her husband and sons (Ruth 1), or another man asked to offer his son to the Lord, the son he had waited 100 years for (Genesis 22). There are others who went to fight mighty enemies by marching and shouting (Joshua 6), or defied a king’s edict to save innocent lives (Exodus 1:15-21)
These characters from the Scriptures all faced situations that had never been experienced before, and they are given to us to embolden us. Look how all of them had to step out in faith and perform the tasks that God had given them, never knowing what the outcome would be.
Is this not just like us today, only the trial is different? We do not know the outcome of this pandemic, or the election, or the school situation, or the rioting in our city streets. But we do know who is still in control and we put our faith and trust in Him. Hebrews 11 lists so many of these “heroes in the faith” for us to learn from, but then notice how the next chapter of Hebrews begins. “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart,” Hebrews 12:1-3.
If we understand that we will face trials to strengthen our faith, then we push forward each day looking to be the helpers in the crisis, just like Mrs. Rogers suggested. How can we help someone see the good in the day, and turn things around? We do this by being an example of having a godly perspective. God is in control and He will do the right thing every time. “Be still and know that I am God,” Psalm 46:10.
A recent example of this that I would like to share happened on August 11th, 2020. Dear friends of ours lost a family member in a car accident. She was only 31, and had been married for just under two years. This same day, a huge derecho swept across the state of Iowa. My husband and I are from Iowa, and every member of our family was in some way affected by this storm which was essentially a “land hurricane” with winds hitting 119 miles per hour. Crops were destroyed, houses, barns, silos were torn apart, power lines down, and people lost their lives. I am on a group text with my Mom and sisters, and I was asking them for prayers for the husband of the young woman who was killed, while at the same time praying for their protection from the destruction of the derecho going on around them. What we all realized then was that the storm had taken its toll on a lot of their farms, homes, crops, etc., but they still had their loved ones around them that night. A godly perspective had us all thanking God for His protection that day when we knew of someone else who would not be holding his wife that night. We were lifting up prayers of comfort for this young man and the families of the loved ones lost that day. Keeping a godly perspective helps us to see the “positives” when the storms hit in our lives.
Another example of this happened with our son. He is currently in college studying hard, but he is also an athlete. He throws a 16 pound metal ball called a shot put. God blessed his spring 2020 season with a win at the conference meet, which qualified him to go to the National Track and Field Championships in North Carolina in March. He arrived at the meet, got to practice in the throwing ring, and was awaiting the start to the competition the next day. If he placed in the top ten throwers, he could be an All-American record holder! Then COVID happened. The NCAA cancelled all the track meets.
It happened to be that the very same day they cancelled the track meet, our daughter had an MRI checking her brain for any signs of regrowth of cancer. She had surgery 4 years ago to remove a cancerous tumor. At the time our son is facing disappointment at the meet AND then his spring throwing season being cancelled, he is learning that his sister is yet again cancer free. He sends a group text to our family saying that she helped him keep his perspective on what truly matters-he still has his big sister. That’s what was important to him, his sister. Through his frustration that day at the meet, he kept a godly perspective, showed us where his priorities were, and kept a thankful heart to the Lord.
Sisters, as we face all sorts of distressing things around us, let us be the helpers in getting people to see the “good” in whatever situation they are facing. LOOK for the helpers, LOOK for the good that God has brought into your life to help you see through the scary things. The same God who helped His people in times past is the same God who watches over us today (Hebrews 13:8).
Just like Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego in Daniel chapter 3, we may feel like we are walking through fire sometimes, like we don’t know what our next steps may bring? There, in the midst of the fire, was God’s protection for them. We won’t physically see the Lord beside us, but we know He with us because He promised He would be. “Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful,” John 14:27. Matthew encourages us, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age,” verse 28:20.
by Robin Martin