Do not be anxious

God, I sure wish you were here …

Scripture reference: Philippians 4:6-7

mother_child

As a mother stills her child…

Today I’m going to tell you about a little girl. Josie was her middle name. Now Josie was a worrier. She worried about all kinds of things: if her shoes were on the right feet; if she was going to have a birthday party; if she could find her way home after school; she sometimes even worried if her big sister had divided up the cookies at the tea party so it would be fair!

BUT, Josie’s biggest worry was storms at bedtime.

If she was brushing her teeth and putting on her pj’s to get ready for bed, and the sky was cloudy and angry-looking, Josie would zip over to the window, toothbrush still in her mouth, to see what the sky was doing. And into her stomach came something that went flip-flop with every thunder-banger.

Josie would quick, quick, dive into her bed and say her prayers with one ear listening to the thunder and rain, and with her eyes squeezed tight. Then she’d pull up the bedsheets as far they would go, and she’d crawl into her bed as far as she could go! And with every flash of lightning flip-flop went her stomach! She couldn’t even think about her baby brother who might be anxious, too! Josie would say to herself: “I don’t want to be scared; I don’t want to be scared.”

One stormy summer night Josie brushed her teeth, dived into bed and said her prayers and curled up into an anxious little ball under the covers, while the lightning flashed and the thunder crashed. “I sure wish Mommy were here,” she whispered softly. “Mommy, I want you to be here.”

The thunder crashed. The rain poured down. Then Josie, deep under the covers, felt the bed creak as though …..   she pulled down the bedsheet and peeked into the darkness.

There was Mommy, not saying a word, just sitting quietly at the foot of her bed, keeping company, while lightning fingers poked at the sky.

But – how could Mommy have known? After all, she’d only whispered very softly, “Mommy, I want you to be here.” And Josie’s stomach stopped flip-flopping; and she wrapped her arms around her raggedy bear and went to sleep. And when she woke up the storm was over!

The little girl grew up, and became a woman; and there was a different kind of storm; she became very sick. And when she was so very sick and lying in her bed, anxious about her family and her life; God was there even though she hadn’t called for Him out loud.

And her kept her company during the sickness storm, so that she could go to sleep and wake up to a new day.

Paul, the great Apostle, l knew what he was talking about. Paul had plenty of experience with pain; he knew about the fear that makes us unable to put everything into the care of the Lord, unwilling to accept totally that God is the captain. Indeed, fear robs the joy and meaning of life.

So what then? …. how can we be released from care? Ah, yes, the everlasting promise of peace if we take all to the Lord in prayer. “It no longer storms in my heart, even though all the burdens aren’t all gone.”

In the storms of life: The Lord speaks; the storm at life; the storms of life, of deep anxiety.

As a mother stills her child…

Listen to Stand By Me by David Lennard

Jesus comforts his disciples and promises to return

The Promise Peppermints

Scripture reference: John 14:1-4 

[You will need to have available two peppermints]

peppermintsToday I’m going to tell you about Jeremy. Jeremy was three years old, and he was going to nursery school for the first time! He was so excited! He was even wearing a new sweatshirt just for the special day! He gulped his orange juice and hurried through his bowl of cereal. He zipped up his brand new backpack and jumped into the van behind his mom. Off they went. Jeremy’s mother parked the van in the parking lot and unbuckled Jeremy’s seat belt.

In they went. Jeremy’s mother helped him hang up his jacket, on a special hanger just for him. But … Jeremy’s mom wasn’t taking off her jacket. And, what was she saying? “See you later” ?? Jeremy didn’t understand this one bit. And he didn’t like it! “But, Mommy, I want you here. Stay here! I’m scared if you go away and leave me. You never leave me! I don’t want you to go away!” He plopped on the floor, as sad as sad.

Then Jeremy’s mom sat right down on the floor beside Jeremy. She gave him a big hug to make him feel better. Then she said, “Don’t be sad. It won’t be for long. I have work to do, so I have to go away now, but I’ll come back to take you home with me. I promise! And she reached into her pocket, and out came two peppermints. “Jeremy,” she said, “Look. These are for you. Promise peppermints.” She put one peppermint in Jeremy’s hand and said, “I promise.” She put the second peppermint in Jeremy’s other hand and said again, “I promise.” Then she got up, blew Jeremy a kiss with a smile, and off she went, out the door, away from Jeremy.

Jeremy was still a little sad, but he went to the toy corner anyway, holding his two peppermints. He sat down on the rug and watched the other kids. After a while he looked at the promise peppermints in his hand. He popped one into his mouth and whispered, “Mommy promised.” Then he rode around on the toy tractor until he started to feel sad again, and squished down in the toy corner. After a while he looked at the second promise peppermint in his hand. He popped it into his mouth and whispered, “Mommy promised.” Then he made a very big fort out of blocks  —–

Before he could get sad again, there was his mother to take him home.

And when Jeremy got bigger and heard about Jesus going away from his disciples to get ready for heaven, he remembered the promise peppermints and understood Jesus’ promise: “Don’t be sad; I will come back to take you home. I promise.”