Word for encouragement  

 

Keith Donnelly 30.03.2020

Despite the unusual and worrying times that we are living in, three things particularly encouraged me last week - turning my thoughts away from the depressing news - and onto our amazing God.

Firstly, the way that communities came together, on Thursday evening, to acknowledge the efforts of our health professionals during the current crisis. Even in our small, secluded little road, our self-isolating neighbours came out, whooping and clapping furiously for our NHS, even though it was mostly the sheep on the reservoir opposite that heard the noise. This public display of love and appreciation was a great antidote to the stories of isolation, selfishness and hoarding that are so often in the news.

Secondly, on the same night my wife and I stood in the dark watching the International Space Station circle overhead and that small light, representing one of mankind's greatest technological achievements, but set against the incredible, enormous background of God's universe - restored my perspective on things.

Our God is an awesome God and He reigns on high, even when things become difficult, amazingly, He loves us and cares for us!
 
Even the Old Testament Psalmists couldn't get their heads around this incredible truth. Psalm chapter 8 verses 3-5 says this,  "When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and stars which you have put in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower that the angels and crowned them with glory and honour."

God knows each and every one of us intimately, we are precious to Him and He loves and cares for us.

Finally, the last thing that caught my attention last week were the baby lambs on the reservoir slopes near our home. These lambs seemed so small, vulnerable and defenceless but I noticed that when the weather got a little inclement or danger threatened they sat down and curled up next to their mothers.

I recalled a sermon we downloaded last week on Psalm 91, a Psalm that has been a great comfort and encouragement to many of us recently. The preacher began by reminding us that because of Jesus we are now seated in the heavenly realms, in a place of safety and of peace, just like baby lambs. Whatever is going on in the world around us we can be at peace in the shadow of the Almighty, He is our refuge and our fortress and we don't have to get stressed and anxious.

Read Psalm 23 this week to remind yourself that the Lord is YOUR shepherd and He makes you to lie down in green pastures, He leads you beside quiet waters and He will refresh your soul - as you sit in His presence and put your trust in Him.

Interestingly, the local authority have recently refurbished a cycleway where we live and we noticed that a new signboard had been erected showing the name of the pathway, which is now known as 'Shepherds Peace' - cool or what!

Shepherds Peace