Calm Thoughts for Anxious Days
“We must not compromise on biblical teachings, but we will not win converts by shouting louder or with a voice more shrill than the opposition. We must not only proclaim the Gospel, we must live it…And in this struggle, we must never grow faint hearted nor cease to rely on God.” ~ Charles W. Pickering, Sr.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He chose for his inheritance. Psalm 33:12
September has traditionally been the month when we turn our thoughts toward school days, a return to structure, schedules and, in so many ways, new beginnings. My mind goes immediately to the students who have left an old comfort zone because of a milestone graduation. Whether that milestone is kindergarten, middle school, or beyond, there are so many students who begin in new places with new rules and new expectations. It can be stressful for students and stressful for mamas and daddies, too. I remember the lump in my throat as I watched a terrified little tow-headed boy walk away from me straight into a sea of strangers and a classroom where a real teacher would shape his life for the next nine months. He was not happy about it at all. If he only knew, at the time, I was even more anxious than he was that first day!
Is it just my faulty dinosaur memory or is the whole phenomenon of school on every level more complicated than it used to be? A new three-ring binder, a pouch for my freshly sharpened #2 pencils, and a fifty-cent pack of beautiful, blank wide-ruled Blue Horse notebook paper were all that was required for back to school in my primary and secondary school days. College was only slightly more complex.
I have enjoyed seeing the dorm rooms of so many college freshmen on Facebook, but I have also been thankful that I went to college before dorm rooms had to be ready for photo shoots in Veranda magazine. I am afraid my mother would never have gone for that idea. My roommate Betty and I had matching bedspreads—five-dollar specials from Fred’s Dollar Store. The good news at the time was that everyone else seemed to have had the same budget. And by the way, this was not during the Great Depression!
If you are in the midst of the back-to-school anxiety disorder, I think you might find a few great and soothing ideas within these pages! I invite you to read our special “back-to-school” advice from area counselors from start to finish. What a group of wise and compassionate sages these folks are!
So, the state of the union has had me on my knees a lot lately. The ideological divide in our country at the moment is like a powder keg waiting for dynamite and a match. It was likely providential that we had scheduled Tim and Alison Wildmon of the American Family Association as our cover this month. Despite being a frequent target of disparaging accusations and even ridicule from organizations and groups who disagree with them, they go calmly and respectfully into the chaotic world of today just doing what God called them to do. As Tim’s father told him, “The outcome is not in your hands.”
That is probably the most hopeful and helpful statement I can cling to right now. One of my favorite lines from the old hymn, “This is My Father’s World” says, “Although the wrong seem ‘oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.”
Remember three things: The outcome is not in our hands. God is the ruler yet. We are called to rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and to be thankful always. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 is a great passage to commit to memory. I guarantee it will help keep you sane in uncertain days!