She didn’t need anything material. Her preschool was fully equipped. Her preschool, which stood in the heart of a particularly poor area of one of the informal settlements I frequently visit, even had electricity.
No, Sarah didn’t need tables or chairs. She didn’t need educational supplies or toys. She didn’t even need playground equipment. She had all these things.
However, there was something that my new friend, Sarah, did not have when I visited her school.
She did not have peace of mind.
If you asked her if she was a follower of Jesus Christ, she would have answered in the affirmative. If you asked her if she prayed, she would have certainly told you that she did pray; every day. If you asked her if she read her bible, again, she would reply that she was a faithful reader of God’s word. A church member? Yes, that too.
So, how was it possible, that a person who was a follower of Christ, a person who prayed to her God and read her bible, and attended church was struggling with discouragement and fear?
Sarah is a conscientious, hard-working woman. Her preschool is one of the best I’ve ever seen in southern Africa. Her pupils are happy, healthy and have access to a fantastic learning environment. And yet, in spite of these very good things, there is an issue that concerns her heart and threatens the viability of her school. The school, although solidly and professionally constructed in 2006, is built out of wood. Some consider the structure a fire-hazard and want it torn down. All of it. If this destruction occurred, Sarah would have to start completely over with bricks and would not be able to replicate the structure her students currently enjoy.
An outside threat has penetrated her heart and soul.
Can you relate?
I am a follower of Christ.
I read and study my bible.
I seek out the community of fellow believers.
However, I confess there are times when my heart and mind are vulnerable to outside threats; whether real or imagined. I do not criticize my friend, for I am right there with her.
I am blinded by my circumstances and fail to see my God. I succumb to the mistaken belief that the situation is greater than My God’s ability to handle whatever is happening in my life right now or in the future. I forget that I am in Good Company.
As I read the ending words of Solomon’s prayer in 2 Chronicles this morning, I am encouraged:
Now, O my God, I pray, let Your eyes be open and Your ears attentive to the prayer offered in this place.
Now therefore arise, O Lord God, to Your resting place, You and the ark of Your might; let Your priests, O Lord God, be clothed with salvation and let Your godly ones rejoice in what is good.
O Lord God, do not turn away the face of Your anointed; remember Your lovingkindness to Your servant David.” New International Version 2 Chronicles 6: 40-42
Solomon prayed these words in dedication of the temple and over the work he and his people had completed in honor of their God. They are great words of exhortation for us as well when we pray to our God and Father.
Lord, take possession and keep possession of our hearts, our minds, our bodies, and the work we do each day.
Lord, arise. Rest upon us and breathe your Spirit into our souls.
Lord, allow us to love and minister in your Name.
Lord, clothe us in your salvation. And not only save us, but make us instruments that draw others into your saving grace as well.
Lord, may we be ministers of joy. Help us remember that no matter what is occurring in our lives, we enjoy Your Good Company at all times.
Lord, we enter Your Presence according to the mercy and grace of Jesus Christ. We have no mercy or righteousness due to our own merit. We come before You in humility.
Lord, please forgive us when we forget we are in Your Good Company even as worries, threats, and other forms of discouragement come against us. Help us remember that we are in Your Presence at every moment of every given day.
You see, Friends, many of us are just like my new friend, Sarah. We have benefited from many blessings in life. We recognize and are grateful for them. However, when a new challenge rises up, something we are unprepared for, something we may feel ill-equipped for, something we feel powerless about, we may forget the Good Company we have in the midst of this situation. We may become so concerned, disheartened and worried about the challenges we face, that our joy and gladness are depleted.
Solomon’s prayer dedicated a temple and the work of his nation’s hands to the Lord. May we continue to do the same with the blessings and the work and even in the challenges we are given in life. We go forward in the Good Company of our Lord and Savior.
Even with the challenges my friend Sarah is facing in with her school, her God is there with her in it. How grateful I am that He is! This is something to rejoice about! Her God is present and keeping her in His sight and in His care.
But what if her school is torn down?
But what if she has no money to rebuild?
But what if she continues to be tormented by outside threats?
No matter what happens, she is in the Good Company of her God.
Our challenges may be quite different. However, we have the same opportunity.
I was given this opportunity when I had cancer in 2012. I chose to remember the Good Company who was near, He cared for me throughout that journey.
I am given this opportunity now as a parent of children on the autism spectrum.
I am offered another Good Company opportunity as a missionary in a land where people are constantly assessing my walk with Christ and wanting to know that my faith is real and transformational.
I am in His Good Company. You are too!
Our response matters.
If we succumb to the pressures of worry, fear, and discouragement, we fail to acknowledge the power, grace and joy of the Good Company of Christ to a world that wonders if knowing Christ really makes a difference.
So does it?
Does the Good Company of our God and our Savior Jesus Christ impact our lives in the face of every kind of blessing, challenge or threat?
It’s a great question.