(Each month, one of our Lay Directors will write an article.)
Happy Independence Day! Happy Dependence on God Every Day!
We are so blessed to live in a country where freedom is celebrated. Our annual celebration of the Fourth of July, Independence Day, is a BIG deal all over the country.
From small towns to huge cities, there are gatherings of family and friends, parades, fireworks, … all kinds of ways that show our thankfulness for the independence of our country.
We, as followers of Our Lord Jesus Christ, celebrate Happy Dependence on God every day! Scripture tells us from Isaiah 41:13, “For I am the Lord, your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ‘Do not fear; I will help you’’’. Do you struggle with fear sometimes? I know that I do. Fear of new situations, fear of others’ expectations, fear of doing too much or not enough. But we who are dependent on God are told that God will help us. God takes hold of my right hand and tells me not to fear, that He will help me. What is there to fear?
For me, one of my big struggles is to trust in God. It’s not that I think that I know better than God what is best for me, but that I’m not God, and His ways are not necessarily my ways. His ways are high above my ways, and sometimes hard for me to understand. From Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your ways straight.” This has certainly been the case for my visit to my son Thom and his family in Japan (stationed there with the Navy), where I will go on July 1st .
I had hoped to visit Japan this summer. I haven’t seen this family since October of 2019. Thom had asked me to come during July (while he would be away at training) to provide support to his wife and their 3 young daughters at home. (The oldest (17) is in California visiting family and friends for the summer.) It seemed important to him for me to get a ticket. Inwardly, I thought that I wouldn’t get to use it; it would be held for a later date when Japan was fully opened. Japan has been closed to tourists since the pandemic began. The country is just now starting, very slowly, to lift restrictions for tourists, but only for small tour groups. I don’t want to tour the country; I want to see my granddaughters!!
I finally said to God, “This trip is yours. I can do nothing to make it happen. I will stop saying that I’m not going to go; I’m going to be open to whatever plan you have.” Before too long, Thom found out on June 7th about a NEW way for me to come visit that had just became available June 1st. Because I have a family member stationed in the U.S. military in Japan, I would be allowed to visit with certain restrictions and several hoops to go through. By the grace of God, the final hoop has been addressed, and I will be going!!!!!!! God has His ways. They are not necessarily our ways, but they are the best ways. Do not fear! God has your hand!
Trust in the Lord! FULLY RELY ON GOD!! Peace, prayers, and blessings to all of you!
John Lyons firstname.lastname@example.org
Kathy Otermat email@example.com