When Times are Tough, Get Tougher

“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3

We are now in the sixth month of the COVID-19 virus here in the state of Georgia, as with the rest of the world.  Life is much different than it was prior to the pandemic, and I believe it will not go back to the old normal, but we shall begin to live in a new normal.  Many have been placed on furlough by their employers, and I fear many will not be able to go back.  A friend of mine was furloughed several months ago and has not returned as of today.  And, it has been alluded to there may be no job to go back to if things do not improve.

Many people are facing the same situation.  Some small businesses have permanently closed their doors because they did not have the funds to keep them open, or were restricted to a limited number of customers which did not bring in enough business.  Others, like some large retail chains, were already struggling to get customers through the doors, are having to file for bankruptcy because they are unable to open in many locations. Cities, like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles are finding themselves losing not only visitors, but many residents as well who are moving because of the restrictions placed in their own states.  Now, I am going to say this and you may disagree, but I believe that not all but some of what was done in reaction to the COVID-19 virus was exaggerated and over done for political reasons.  And I will not go into how many groups are taking advantage of this situation such as Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and others to push their agenda, some in violent ways.

So, because of all that I have laid out above, there are many who find themselves looking for ways to simply survive, let alone trying to make ends meet.  They cannot afford mortgage or rent payments, so they can potentially lose their homes.  Some have little if any money coming in, so they struggle to even purchase food and required medications.  Some have no way to even go out and buy what they need because of the distancing in buses that restrict the number of people who can ride in a particular vehicle.

Now, there are several things we can do to assist those in need.  One is to set up or volunteer at a church or other organization, a food pantry where those who are struggling can get what they need in order to feed themselves and their family.  The church I now attend is a small one, but they set up a pantry on the last Saturday of every month.  They work to get food donations and are able to provide a box to those who come by.  If you are unable to physically volunteer, you can donate to aid organizations in their work.  Either way you will be assisting those who need help.  Be open to hear what people need.  If you can help them, great.  If not, you can connect them with someone who can. And lastly, there will be times when what is needed by someone is simply words of encouragement and, just maybe someone to listen to them.   They may be downcast, worried or depressed.  Be there for them and help them, hearing what they need to say,  Also by cheering them up and giving them positive and encouraging words to help them feel better.  People need to know that someone truly cares for them.

It is crucial that in these troubling times, we show the love of God to all we see.  In Matthew 25 we read the words of Jesus regarding the good sheep on His right.  “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You? The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.” Matthew 25:34-40.

Also, pray for others in difficult times.  Lift them up to God regularly. And finally, remember these words Jesus spoke to His disciples, those then and now.  “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.“  Luke 6:31.  If you are hungry, would you want food to eat?  If you are thirsty, would you want something to drink?  If you are lonely, sick, in prison, or need clothes, you would want someone to help you.  I suspect you would.  Therefore, help others.

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