The Clewiston News

Reflections from the Pulpit

Upsets: God’s design and our part in it

It’s easy to say “Don’t be anxious” or “Don’t be upset” and not really understand another person’s pain even if we’re well-meaning. We’ve all heard about walking in another person’s shoes before criticizing, and I’ve been tempted to say “I understand” when maybe I really don’t understand.

A television reportage touched on the tragedy of people giving up on life and throwing in the towel when things seemed hopeless and out of control.

Yes, there are many things daily on the news that can be very upsetting and leave people feeling helpless in the face of so many crises and tragedies. There are times when things hit us personally that can leave us down and feeling hopeless.

I believe our call is to do what we can but not to try to solve all of the world’s problems by ourselves. Likewise, we’re called to help one another when such moments happen to those around us or those we love.

My vocation brings me into contact with people and their problems; and I am often expected to come up with a solution. I’ve found that many of the problems that cause people to be anxious or “down” can be solved; occasionally having an insight that allows for a novel approach to an old problem.

One person some years back had just started work and didn’t get paid until the end of her first week. In the meantime, she needed food (we had a food pantry) and gas money (we had a discretionary fund for small amounts) but she needed a license plate for her car (uh-oh!) We had a car dealer in the Church; I asked him about the paper temporary plates and he said “Send her over.”

She said “How did you ever think of that?” and I told her that the temporary plate would keep her “legal” until she could purchase the proper one.

I’ve been able over the years to find resources that I can use to help people, but first and foremost to try to keep things in perspective no matter what causes their anxieties.

This life is a gift from God. The Psalmist praises God because “…I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:v. 14). He reminds us that God knows us from creation and that “all your works are wonderful (ibid).” One clergy person put it this way “God don’t make no junk!” and that says it all.

When we’re beset by anxieties and everything seems overwhelming; God has made good stuff and it’s up to us to find out how to keep those things that worry us from becoming overly important.

I’ve found there are people around me with whom I can kick things around until a solution is found, or I can find ways of going about dealing with perplexing intrusions by trying something new.

(One doctor pointed out “If you keep trying to do things in the same old way, you’re going to get the same old answers that weren’t working!)’

One perplexing problem was resolved when one of my mentors said “Fish, or cut bait! (Do something!). I did.

Jesus tells us in the Beatitudes “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life….” (Matthew 6:25ff) and “Which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life (v. 27)” and that God knows of our needs, “But seek first His kingdom and all these things shall be yours as well (v.33).”

God doesn’t intend for us to be overwhelmed with worries; that’s not why we’re created.

Rather, we are called to cherish the gift of how fearfully and wonderfully we’re made. When things upset us, we’re called to do something to put ourselves in line with His plan of creation for us. It may be through insights from others, it may be by taking time out to pray and meditate, it may be resolving to come to terms with what we’re facing; but always not to be set back by cares that make us less than we’re intended to be. He didn’t give us all the answers to all our problems;

He told us not to lose faith and keep working to find how to be that person we’re created to be. Do something; have faith; seek and ye shall find – and that’s in the Bible too!