Say No to Fear, Say Yes to Peace

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When I was a girl, we had one phone which we called “the telephone.” Our first one was black and sat on a table much like the one pictured below.

 Roy Emerson Stryker, half-length portrait, seated at desk, talking on the telephone, c. 1942. Courtesy Library of Congress.
Roy Emerson Stryker, half-length portrait, seated at desk, talking on the telephone. Courtesy of Library of Congress

Sometimes I search digital images on Library of Congress to illustrate my posts. When I searched for an old telephone, I found this one. I didn’t know who Roy Stryker was but found out that he was a photographer who took photos of the Great Depression for the federal government. I copied the caption straight from Library of Congress. See what I mean? He is talking on “the telephone.”

Later my family got really modern and changed to a telephone that hung on the wall. It hung right above Mother’s sewing machine, the place where she sat all day unless she was on the back porch washing our clothes in her wringer washing machine or in the backyard hanging the clothes on the line (or taking them down), or in the kitchen cooking breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Mother and Me
Mother and Me Yesterday at a 50th Anniversary Party for Friends

Today we keep our phones in our pockets or on our desks or in the kitchen — wherever we are. Back then, Mother put the telephone where she was, too — right by her sewing machine, which was as close as it could be to the kitchen, which was right next to the back porch where she did the laundry, which was a few yards from the clothesline.

There were rules about the telephone back then. There were times when it was okay to intrude on someone’s time at home and times when it was inappropriate. Mother and Daddy usually settled into bed about 10:00 p.m. They both worked hard, Daddy at the grocery store which was several yards behind the clothesline and Mother at her sewing machine beside the kitchen. So, 10:00 p.m. was lights out.

On very rare occasions, the phone rang in the middle of the night. Without fail, a middle of the night phone call meant something big had happened, not necessarily bad, but big. Perhaps an aunt was on her way to the hospital or someone was sick or hurt. Once our family experienced both of those big things on the same night. My grandmother went to Uncle Ronnie and Aunt Shirley’s house to take care of their children because my Aunt Shirley had gone into labor. When Mama Sue opened a door off the hallway to go into the bathroom, she accidentally opened the door right beside it instead and fell down the basement steps — just a few days before Christmas.

Oh, how we would all tense up when we got one of those late night calls.

Stop for a minute and think about your life. Are you busy, busy like my mother? Do you dread what you might learn in a call or text or message? Do you worry about what kind of job you are doing as you homeschool your children?

The Bible app on my phone sends me a pretty picture and a brief Bible passage every morning. The other day the passage included this:

The righteous will be remembered forever.
He will not fear evil tidings;
His heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.
Psalm 112:6b-7

That was challenging. Not fear evil tidings?

But upon reflection, I realized that this is completely possible. A steadfast heart that trusts the Lord really is ready for any news. Is this easy? No way. Is it possible? Absolutely. The longer I live the more I realize that Jesus is the answer to everything.

Yesterday our minister talked about the thief on the cross who asked Jesus to remember him when He came in His kingdom. Wayne pointed out that during the time Jesus and the two thieves were on the cross, both of them had hurled abuse at Him (Matthew 27:44). In the very last moments they were going to live on earth, they were ridiculing the Son of God. One of them didn’t repent, but the other one came to himself. He rebuked the other thief, asking him, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?” He reminded his fellow thief that they were suffering justly and were getting what they deserved, but Jesus had done nothing wrong. Then he asked Jesus to remember him when He came in His kingdom. Jesus assured him that he would be in Paradise with Him that very day (Luke 23:40-43).

That thief was a sinful man facing certain condemnation. He had the ultimate problem. Jesus was the ultimate solution. Jesus is the ultimate solution to all of our problems, too. I love this old 1875 hymn by Edward Bickersteth:

Peace Perfect Peace

Peace, perfect peace, in this dark world of sin.
The blood of Jesus whispers peace within.

Peace, perfect peace, by thronging duties pressed.
To do the will of Jesus, this is rest.

Peace, perfect peace, with sorrows surging round:
On Jesus’ bosom naught but calm is found.

It is enough: earth’s struggles soon shall cease,
And Jesus call us to heaven’s perfect peace.

The steadfast of mind
You will keep in perfect peace,
Because he trusts in You.
Trust in the Lord forever,
For in God the Lord,
we have an everlasting Rock.
Isaiah 26:3-4

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