These are lyrics I wrote 45 years ago. My very talented friend, Margo Edwards, set my words to music and together we directed a little children's musical about Noah and the animals on the ark.
Ever since, these songs come back to me at odd times, usually when I need to hear the message they convey. During my isolation the song Faith is Believing became an ear worm in my head. I spent a long time looking through boxes of old writing (yes, I did write many years on paper only!) for this particular song.
And, it seems an appropriate message for our pandemic-weary souls.
So this is for those of you that are overseeing children's schooling at home, for those of you working from home, for those who have been laid off, or had a business that closed, those who are working on the front lines, or just those of you concerned about all that is happening in our world.
Faith is Believing
Faith is believing in what you can't see,
Knowing that God will provide.
Faith is just knowing that He is in charge,
Always walking by your side.
Faith doesn't doubt Him or worry or stew,
Faith doesn't question why,
For God knows what He's doing after all,
He's smarter than you or I!
Faith is just building an ark when you're told,
And taking a long boat ride,
Knowing that God knows the "whys and the wheres,"
If you'll let Him be your guide.
These weeks do seem like a very long boat ride. But, I do know, like Noah, that all I need to do is build the boat when He tells me. He's in charge of where the boat takes me.
Cast all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
Today we will walk with Jesus from the celebratory Upper Room into the more somber Garden of Gethsemane. Here Jesus walked with His disciples. And here he prayed.
He took Peter, James and John with Him as He walked farther into the garden. He made one request of them: Remain here and keep watch with me. Matthew 26:38
But they'd been partying, they'd had a big meal, and it was late. And when Jesus returned to them, He found them sleeping.
And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, "So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? Keep watching and praying, that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." Matthew 26:40-42
The Message version paraphrases the passage this way: Jesus said to Peter, "Can't you stick it out with me a single hour? Stay alert; be in prayer so you don't wander into temptation without even knowing you're in danger. There is a part of you that is eager, ready for anything in God. But there's another part that's as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire."
All of our dogs loved the fireplace. They would stretch out on the rug in front of it and sleep, oblivious to all the commotion in the world around them. It is tempting for me to do the same thing. Sometimes the hurts and evils in this world overwhelm me. I would love to stretch out and sleep and forget. But Jesus has one request of us today, "Keep watching and praying."
So today, find time to spend time with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Pray for our world, pray for your world, pray for a new awakening during this, the strangest of Easter Seasons.
Don't be an old, lazy dog!
Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving. Colossians 4:2
Let's walk today with Jesus into the Upper Room, the day He would face arrest, beatings, and ultimately the cross.
I want you to picture yourself as one of the disciples, sitting there, enjoying a meal with your best friends. Maybe Peter has just told a joke and you have your head tipped back, laughing.
Then Jesus stands up, picks up a basin, fills it with water, sits beside you and washes your feet. Those crooked toes, bunions, toe jam, and stinky feet. They're dirty because you have walked through the filthy streets of Jerusalem in sandals to get here. But the soon-to-be Savior of the world, cradles your dirty feet tenderly in the hands that will be pierced by nails, and washes them clean.
Do you speak as Peter did? "Never shall you wash my feet!"
Then Jesus reminds you, "If I do not wash you, you have no part of me."
Because we need Jesus to wash us daily. We need to cleansed of the sin, bitterness, greed, anger, worry, gossip, impatience, griping, and all the rest of the filth we accumulate in this life.
So today, invite Jesus into your personal Upper Room. Let him sit beside you and cleanse you of all that makes you dirty.
Then, pick up the basin to wash someone else's feet.
"You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you." John 13:14-15
Jesus not only cleanses us of our sin in the Upper Room, he gives us a beautiful picture of serving. Our Lord, in His darkest hours, put out needs before His. We need to selfishly serve others.
In our present situation, your serving may look different. Many volunteer opportunities are no longer available or in the best interests of our communities. Be creative! Your elderly neighbor might appreciate a phone call, the young family without work might love a carry out meal delivered to them, a friend who lives by herself may need a Skype or Zoom visit so she doesn't feel isolated. Put aside your own anxiety, boredom and frustrations, pick up the basin and serve someone today.
"Therefore, encourage one another, and build up one another, just as you also are doing."
1 Thessalonians 5:11
Susan Lawrence taught elementary school for 33 years before hanging up her chalkboard to write and speak. She writes novels for both adults and middle grade children. Susan lives in Iowa with her husband and short-legged Lab, Molly. She has 3 children and 7 grandchildren who love to hear her stories.