In the Middle of it All

“”Stone is heavy, and sand is weighty, but a complaining fool is worse than either” (Proverbs 27:3).  There’s definitely a place for bearing each other’s burdens; for talking over problems and getting things off our chests, but if we constantly complain, we’re not only a burden on the shoulders of those around us, we’re bad for ourselves too.


“A quarrelling wife is as bothersome as a continual dripping on a rainy day” (Proverbs 27:15), and if you’ve ever woken up in the middle of the night to a leaking roof and raindrops coming in, you’ll know how bothersome that is!  All you want is an end to the problem.  If you’re the quarreller, perhaps all you can see is the problem and you want an end to it too.


I don’t claim to have the answer in your situation, but there is a verse at the end of this chapter that might help.  “There will be plenty of goat’s milk to feed you and your family and to make your servant girls healthy” (Proverbs 27:27).  In other words, God’s plan is for us to have plenty to meet our needs – not our wants, but our needs.  Whether it’s a quarrel with your spouse you’re in the middle of, or another problem – big or small, why don’t you step back from it for a few minutes?  Try to think of ways God has met your needs – the clothes you’re wearing, the food on the table, etc.  We can overflow with thankfulness when we know that with God, we may not have everything we want, but we have enough.


Just because I’m writing this, please don’t think I have it all together.  There are days I get really fed up with the doors that seem to slam in my face.  At those times, hearing other people’s unanswered prayers can discourage me and prayer can even seem pointless, but when I stop to think about it, when I think how God’s answered some of my prayers – how He’s brought someone along just when I’ve needed help, or got my mum through the chemotherapy, I know it’s not pointless after all.


This morning I read my usual devotional E-mail but wasn’t sure what else to read.  I saw a couple of things about Psalm 55 so thought I would have a look at that.


The beginning talks about how David’s enemies treated him terribly and held angry grudges.  (Haven’t we all been there?)  Then he went on to say what really bothered him:  It was his close friend who was against him.  “We enjoyed being together, and we went with others to your house, our God. …  His words were smoother than butter, and softer than olive oil.  But hatred filled his heart, and he was ready to attack with a sword” – Psalm 55:14, 21.


Verse 14 made me stop and think.  What would that be like – to have my close friend, someone I trust, the one I go to church with, turn against me?  I was so grateful I wasn’t experiencing that.  My first reaction was to say:  “Lord, don’t let what happened to King David happen to me”, but then I remembered:  It happened even to Jesus when He was betrayed by Judas Iscariot, and Jesus says no student is greater than his teacher (Luke 6:40).


We don’t know what’s ahead in our futures, but let’s thank God for the here-and-now.

A Note to Compassion-sponsors

2 Corinthians 9:12, 14 (CEV) – “What you are doing is much more than a service that supplies God’s people with what they need.  It is something that will make many others thank God. …  Now they are praying for you and want to see you, because God used you to bless them so very much.”


Have your sponsored children said they want to meet you?  Where are they and do you think you’ll visit?  I’d love to visit the Philippines, but although I sponsor a boy in Haiti, I don’t seem to want to go there.  Not sure why that is.

Prayers and Sweets

I just wanted to tell you about this lovely idea someone had for church today.  They gave out different-coloured sweets, and each colour represented something:  Orange was family; yellow was friends; silver was food etc.  We weren’t allowed to eat our sweet until we’d thanked God out-loud for that particular thing.  It’s a great way of prompting praise.  It could become very stilted if you let it, or you could just use it as a starting-point.


How about saying thank You and then, as you eat your orange sweet, praying for members of your family – the ones who don’t yet know that God loves them and don’t tell their problems to Him?  As you chew on your yellow sweet, why not list the things you love about your friends (I love that I have friends of different ages and different races), or bring a friend to God who’s going through an especially rough time?  And as you savour your silver sweet, think about the food you have.  We celebrated harvest this morning, so there were tins and packets of food decorating the church, as well as plenty of lunch afterwards.  Someone said at the end we must’ve had about 30 baked potatoes left-over – we had more than enough!  Surely that’s something to thank God for, and how about asking Him if there’s a way you could provide for someone who doesn’t have enough?


What do you think of this idea?  Could you try it at home?  What would you have the colours represent?