Last week we learned the importance of putting down roots by practicing trust in God when our lives are calm so we can stand strong during the crises of life. Scripture describes it as being like a tree that keeps it leaves during a storm and bears fruit in a drought.
There is another consideration we should think about:
A flourishing tree can be a refuge for others.
A tree with leaves provides much needed shade in a scorching hot sun. Likewise, our confidence in God means we can provide relief to those who are weary.
A tree that bears fruit in a time of drought is a source of sustenance and nourishment. In the same way, when we are patient, loving, kind, and gentle—the fruits of the Spirit described in Galatians 5:22—we bring refreshment to those who are in need.
So how do we practically provide relief and refreshment to others during a crisis? We can:
I phoned my friend, the one with her daughter in Brussels during the recent bombings, just to let her know I was thinking about her. It seemed a small, insignificant thing to do, but it was huge to her. It said I cared.
Through our network of family and friends we discovered Christian missionaries living in Brussels. Just the thought of having someone their daughter could reach out to, strangers across the world who could provide support if needed, brought reassurance for my friend and her husband.
Of course we second-guess our decisions when bad things happen. But, like my friend, I would have let my daughter go to Brussels. I need to tell her that when I see her.
We must not stop living or give in to fear. But we can be smart. “What would you do if you had been in Brussels?” I asked my daughter. “Call the Embassy and get their advice,” she answered. And we need a new kind of street savvy. Be vigilant of what’s going on around you, but not paranoid. Most people are just like us—going about their normal business.
We might wish certain things of our children, but when the ones you love are scattered and terror strikes nearby, it’s a reminder not to stress the niceties but to emphasis the necessities.
For me, it’s to say “I love you,” to show patience, and pass on the faith.
Quite often when circumstances are out of our control there is very little we can do except pray. Even if people don’t normally pray, they cry out when scared.
But when a child of God is used to praying in the still moments, it’s not such a stretch to rely on God during the storm.
Even if prayer doesn’t seem like a practical option, it is. “Don’t just tell me to pray,” someone once said to me. But, I am convinced God is hands-on through our prayers. I’m convinced the prayers of my grandmother kept me safe on travels to dangerous parts of the world.
Prayer is no guarantee bad things won’t happen but it shows our faith in God’s protection. Just knowing I was praying for her daughter brought relief for my friend.
What relief and refreshment can you extend to a friend today?