Words of
Encouragement & Hope
Submitted by Mary Hirt


Since March 12 of this year, the day our lives shut down, we have been compelled to wear masks when out and about. We have been asked to meet only in groups of ten or less and be at least six feet apart. Because these measures are for our safety, and the safety of others, we comply. But, oh, how our everyday living has changed.

As an example, look at your calendar for March. When I looked at mine it was full. There were at least two things listed for each day... everyday. When you consider there are even more things not listed, you wonder how it all gets accomplished. Things not listed are what I call activities of daily living. These include, but are not limited to, attending Sunday worship, eating out after church, housecleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, meal prep and clean up. Let us not forget daily quiet time for devotions and prayer. How much longer could this list be? Who knows? The bottom line is our lives have changed in many ways, our to-do lists have become so much shorter.

All this has caused me to stop and ponder, are we human doings or human beings? With the cessation of so many activities in our lives, how have we spent the extra time? If each of us examines ourselves for the answers to these questions, will we be surprised to see what is actually important to us?

I belong to a long-term Bible study. We do not meet in the summer. We do, however, submit prayer requests for the group to pray over
the summer. One request was submitted by nearly each person. That request was to be consistent in our daily quiet time for prayer and devotions. Well, doesn't God just give such crazy good gifts?
Covid-19 hit and BOOM, we have so much more time. We can once again, "be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him," according
to Psalm 37:7.

This Bible Study I mentioned has a prayer blog that I receive daily.
For the entire month of June, they used the scripture from Psalm 46:10, "be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in all the earth." For me, this was yet another gift from God, as the words, "be still and know that I am God," have been dancing around in my head all year long. Also by reading Psalm 46:10, daily for a month, it is locked in my memory bank....I think.

I found a short article by Liz Kanoy, an editor, regarding Psalm 46:10. She says, "this verse is popular for comforting ourselves and others...and many think this verse means to rest or relax in who God is. But there is more to this psalm than one verse...and verse 10 is actually more of a wake-up call to be in awe than a gentle call to rest. This command, 'be still' is written in the context of a time of trouble and war; therefore, we should consider the verse with that context in mind."

She continues with, "instead of interpreting 'be still' as a gentle suggestion, the meaning in this psalm lends itself more to, 'cease striving' or 'stop' and specifically 'stop fighting,' which is directed toward the enemies of the people of God. The people of God should interpret the command for themselves to read more like, 'snap out of it,' 'wake up,' 'stop fearing' and acknowledge who your God is...be in awe!"

So I say, "watch our world and Covid-19, the people of God are not afraid; we are awake and alert; we are in awe of our God; we are prayer warriors fighting battles on our knees; we trust in our God to be with us and help us along the way.

Dear friends of SHUMC,

I encourage each of you to:

Make sure you test positive for faith.
Keep your distance from doubt, and
isolate yourself from fear.
Trust in God through it all. (Kelly's Treehouse).

Mary Hirt