Trust in Him at all times, you people, pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. (Psalm 62:8)
The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man (woman, child) avails much. (James 5:16)
Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes WITH you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.(Deuteronomy 31:6)
I’m not a “cradle Lutheran” but the daughter of a Quaker lady and a Nazarene man who united under the Nazarene banner to raise me and my three siblings. How I ended up in Nampa’s Trinity Lutheran Church family goes back to 1993 and is a whole different story. But I’m forever grateful for its place in my life all these years since. It has enabled my soul to grow, stretch, serve and love more deeply. Worshipping with my church family is food for my soul, even now is these difficult, “together, yet apart” days.
My mom, Lois, was a homemaker, but not a typical one as she was quite active in community involvements. She had a true heart for a wide ecumenicalism. I remember her opening our home to many a neighborhood Bible study. Women of all faiths, or no faith, found a welcome community in our living room. She subscribed to a monthly Lutheran Magazine, which I remember looking through many times. She was a teacher at heart and studied the Word in preparation for sharing Jesus’ love with everyone. It wasn’t unusual to hear her praying over the phone with a burdened friend. Her grace and love emanated to all whom she met. Rarely did she miss her “quiet time”, reading scripture and praying in the early mornings. It was essential; her soul food.
My Dad, Dr Bob, was a medical doctor in Nampa at a time when Family Practice was literally a family practice, as his Dad and brother practiced medicine with him at their family clinic. Over the years he delivered many of the babies raised in Nampa. He made house calls and bartered for payment. Because he took his time with all his patients during their appointments at the clinic, wait time was consequently too long. But his “patience with patients” gained him a reputation as a kind and dedicated doctor who truly cared. He, too, was active in community activities, some through the Lion’s Club. After retirement, he and my mother traveled to Nazarene mission stations in New Guinea, South Africa and India doing volunteer medical missionary work. While he did doctoring, she helped Wycliff Bible translators in their work. Dad, also, rarely missed his “quiet time” everyday in the Word and praying. It was his primary source of strength, his soul food.
It was common to have occasional “family worship” together, sometimes even kneeling down at our kitchen chairs, each of us having an opportunity to pray out loud. I have to admit that when younger, we kids would be easily distracted peaking out at each other and making faces…seeing who could make who laugh first! But, as the years went by, it did not escape us that this time together was teaching us reverence, respect, humility and it helped us love each other even more.
I was so blessed to have been raised by parents who took their faith seriously, living it out with love and grace. But the reason they were able to do this was because they made time to feed their souls. They poured out their hearts before the Lord. Their prayers were fervent at times, but other times, when they lacked words, the Holy Spirit interceded for them. They took away from their private worship the strength and courage that they needed for that day, and that day only. They knew without a doubt that God was with them and would never forsake them. What a wonderful heritage and example of self-discipline and devotion. I’ll always be grateful.
I’m obviously “preaching to the choir”, but it is good to be reminded how valuable our individual times with God really are. God sees our hunger and wants to meet our needs. This time alone with God is truly the way we will victoriously get through these very challenging days. God is our refuge.
Gracious God, be the unseen but undeniable presence in every moment of our days. May we seek to know you better by spending intentional time with you. Bless this time, however it is manifested, with your guidance, peace, grace and goodness. In your holy and hope-filled name, Amen.