It seems like hard times will be with us for a while longer. Two years ago, it was oil gushing out of control in the Gulf of Mexico and we experienced some difficult times. Last year, there was an unprecedented number of tornadoes in the South and, for many of us, our relatives and friends suffered greatly because of these disasters. And this year the economy, which was predicted by some expert forecasters to improve, has not. And, now, all of us have been adversely affected.
I commented to some close friends recently about this seemingly uninterrupted avalanche of bad times: “We live in a time when everything seems to be going bad.” And things are not changing for the worse in just recent times. It seems that the fact that almost anything that can change and go bad, and everything that can change for the worse, has been doing so for several years.
In one of Marvin Harris’ classic books, America Now, the noted anthropologist referenced such times when he wrote, “It’s about old ladies getting mugged and raped, letters that take weeks to get delivered, waiters that throw food at you, rude sales help, computers that bill you for things you never bought, pens that don’t write, roofs that collapse, waterless fountains and many other conditions that accompany our new and strange America.”
It takes strength to handle these changes. It takes the strength that only Jesus can provide. The Phillips translation of Philippians 4:13 reads: “I am ready for anything through the strength of the One who lives within me.” What a mantra for our current condition, climate and culture. What a response to our recent recession and recurring regressions.
A popular John Homer Miller quote is, “Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you, as by the attitude you bring to life.” So I say, and I encourage others to say, “With Christ I can do all things, I can handle all things and I am ready for anything good or bad life brings.”
Because, with Christ’s help, all things are possible. With Christ’s help every student can achieve, every church ministry can grow, and every parent can be effective, and every father can be present financially and emotionally for his child.
With Christ’s help, every community can be viable and every person can be considered valuable to the Kingdom of God. With Christ’s help, there is victory over every temptation, grace for every trouble and strength for every task. With Christ Jesus’ help, there is satisfaction for every hunger, virtue for every vice, life in every assumed dead situation, assurance for every anxiety, comfort for every pain and an escape for every temptation.
Because of Christ, there is no confinement, conflict, confusion, contamination, condemnation, constraint, condition or negative climate that will stop the plans that God has for my life. I am ready for anything.
For the Christian, life is not just the engagement of virtuous activity in controlled environments but also the maintenance of victorious attitudes in
uncertain and uncharacteristic situations — even with tornados, earthquakes, inconveniences, continued war and people acting like there is no hereafter, and Christians fainting because of fear, I am and you should be ready for anything.
So, Lord: When something heavy comes along for which I do not have strength to lift or even handle, and when someone comes with news I cannot bear to hear, I know my strength lies in you. With you and me working together, I am ready for anything. Help me to keep this attitude in the forefront of my mind.
Dr. Walter T. Richardson is pastor-emeritus of Sweet Home Missionary Baptist Church located in South Miami-Dade and chairman of the Miami-Dade Community Relations Board.
He may be contacted at wtrichardson@Bellsouth.net
Photo: Stock Photo