Pumpkins and Paramedics

Every day brings a new challenge, a new struggle. Some days the challenges are easy.  Today’s challenge was to carve a pumpkin and not embarrass my 16 year old son too much when he brought a new girl to the house.  I can manage that (for the most part).  But just a few days ago, the challenge involved the same son being strapped to a backboard after a high school soccer game, with his neck immobilized, and loaded into the back of a life squad.  Not as easy of a challenge to manage.

Finally, draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power.   Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil.  For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.  Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground.  So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace.  In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all [the] flaming arrows of the evil one.  And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Ephesians 6:10-17

The life squad excursion ended up being precautionary and other than a sore neck and headache, my son is fine.  A temporary challenge.  As I read this passage, I thought of my son laying on the ground with the trainer holding his neck still until the life squad arrived.  His body was exhausted from a game that had gone into double over time.  He had done everything he could but his body wouldn’t let him do any more.  The paramedics slid a back board under his body, and began strapping the gold straps across his chest.  They crossed around the center of his body.  Then they crossed his arms across his chest and wrapped a blanket around him.  With the gold straps crossed around him — he looked protected.  An armor of sorts.

Our strength comes from God.    Like my son, there will be days when we are exhausted, when we have done everything we can.  But we do not have the strength or ability to do it alone.  We need the armor of God strapped around us, crossing our chest, our heart.  The strength we need comes from God’s truth, His righteousness and our readiness for the gospel.  Our faith is our shield and God’s word is our sword, it clears our path to victory.

I watched the paramedics slide a neck brace around my son’s neck without moving his head or neck even an inch.  Just as effortlessly we can take on the helmet of salvation.  God offers it to us, and like my son, sometimes we just need to lay still, and not turn our heads away.

God,

Help me to stand fast, with my feet deeply planted in your gospel.  Fill my hidden most parts with your truth.  Allow me to show your righteousness to the world, engraving it across my chest.  Make my faith strong so that its shield can protect me from all evil that may come my way.  Lead me with your word and your sword.  I draw my strength from you.

Thank you for taking care of my son.

Strengthen us O Lord

Tonight a friend needs prayers and strength.  And the Bible opened here:

For I long to see you, that I may share with you some spiritual gift so that you may be strengthened,  that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by one another’s faith, yours and mine.

Romans 1:11-12

Sometimes we need to lean on each other’s faith.

Lord, I pray that you watch over those who are hurting tonight.  Keep them safe.  Hold them close.  Heal them, Lord.  We believe!  We have faith!  We know that you can do all things.  We pray for your healing powers tonight.

Healing prayers

Today, I learned that a friend was in need of prayers and healing.  I felt helpless to offer any words of comfort.  My mind quickly turned to prayer and I asked God to provide her with healing and comfort, but outwardly I was unable to offer the encouragement and comfort that she needed.  I wanted to do so much more.

Tonight the Bible opened here:

At once [Jesus] spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”  Peter said to him in reply, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”  He said, “Come.” Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus.  But when he saw how [strong] the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”  Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”  After they got into the boat, the wind died down.  Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying, “Truly, you are the Son of God.”

After making the crossing, they came to land at Gennesaret. When the men of that place recognized him, they sent word to all the surrounding country. People brought to him all those who were sick and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak, and as many as touched it were healed.

Matthew 14: 27-36

I have faith that my friend will be healed.  I believe God has great plans for her.  I am certain of it.  Indeed it was her faith, and kindness and love that brought me back to the church and to God in a much more meaningful way.

Tonight I pray that she knows that Jesus is holding his hand out to her.  He is holding her and will get her through the temporary struggles that she is facing.

Dear Lord,

Please help all those who are struggling with health issues.  Give them the faith and courage to know that you are there, that they are safe, and that all of these struggles are temporary.

Thank you for sending my friend to me.  She has been such a reflection of you in my life, help me to be that to her.  Help her to know how loved she is.  Please heal her body and strengthen her spirit.