Led into the Desert

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJX2JwaWmbc]

Ethan Powell, 6 months old.

I’m going to take a break from my series on the Twelve Steps today. Not too long ago I started a Yahoo group called LOVE IN THE MAIL. This is much more than a group, it is a ministry. Each week members submit a name or two and we all send cards of encouragement to these people. We have sent cards to people having surgery, people with cancer, those suffering the loss of loved ones, and those who needed to know they were loved. I do not know how many cards go out each week, but a number of them do. Every card brings a blessing of knowing that someone is praying for you.

The video above is our most recent recipient of  LOVE IN THE MAIL. Ethan Powell’s struggle for life is well documented on his OWN WEBSITE. Please share Ethan’s link everywhere you can. Please offer a prayer for him. His address is on the website. Send them a card of encouragement.  Another recent name on our list was Lisa Carr, who chronicles her struggle with cancer HERE. If you’d like to participate in the LOVE IN THE MAIL ministry, please join at the Yahoo group today. I’d love to see every recipient flooded with 100 or more cards.

I’m a bit reflective this morning on all of the hurting and pain going on around me. There is a minister friend who is so discouraged that he feels useless.  There is a friend who is killing himself with alcohol, afraid to be sober, afraid to drink. There is a couple who are fighting feirce dragons of marital troubles. There is a man who cannot move into his home because he is disabled and needs his home repaired. There is the young girl at camp who recently lost her mother … on the last day of camp she said, ‘I forgot…my mother won’t be coming to get me today’. There is the young man who has given away his last chance at getting his life back together. There is the hungry lady who buys beer and drugs instead of food (it’s easy to judge her, but if you knew her hellish life you might not blame her). There’s a man today having surgery … the same surgery for the 4th time … who doesn’t know if it will do any good.

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.  (Galatians 6:3)

I was just looking over the list of the 15 recipients of our LOVE IN THE MAIL encouragements. Each one facing a storm in life that is overwhelming. It would be easier to shrug our shoulders and say that everyone has struggles. True. Life is hard. True. But doesn’t God call us to involve ourselves in the muddy mess of the lives around us? Are we not to love and fight and struggle with those we love and desire to help? We can’t always make a difference, but when we can make that difference we ought to. The modern prophets call out that the end of the world is near. The world is crashing and burning around us if we only look. Yet it is still true … out here, hope remains.

It’s easier to hurry along and just get busy … but I think we should take a moment to mourn. Apostle Paul admonished us to Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15). I do not believe we are meant to live in mourning … but we should spend some time there. Let your tears drive you to place your heart in God’s powerful hands. He is our only hope.

He does bring us joy … yet he also leads us through the valley.

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil… (Matthew 4:1).

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me… (Psalm 23:4)

Thanks for reading.

john

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