Tears and Joy

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Yesterday morning I watched a video about people helping other people during the COVID-19 crisis. I teared up when I watched it and teared up again when I told Ray about it. Did you see the story about someone leaving a $9,000 tip at a restaurant to help workers who were about to be without work? Or the story about the girl who stood outside of her grandfather’s room at the nursing home to show him her engagement ring since she wasn’t allowed to go inside?

My tears felt good. They are often healing, don’t you think?

Ray read Philippians 4:4-9 to me yesterday. It is a passage I have shared with you many times. As soon as Ray reminded me that Paul was in prison when he wrote these words to the church at Philippi, I knew I wanted to share the passage with you again today. I imagine that many people are feeling as if they are in prison right now. Maybe some of you feel that way, too.

As usual, I have italicized the words from the passage and centered them on the page. In between these beautiful truths from God’s Word, I have added my thoughts in regular type.

Rejoice in the Lord always;
again I will say, rejoice!

In the midst of tears and fears, we can rejoice. What a good time this is to count our blessings and to choose joy.

Let your gentle spirit be known to all men.

When conditions around us are stressful, it is easy to get snappy. This is a time to be gentle because everyone around us has fears and burdens like we do. When we are gentle, it blesses others and ourselves.

The Lord is near.
Be anxious for nothing, . . .

Nothing? Really? Not even this pandemic? The reason we can be anxious for nothing is because the Lord is near.

. . . but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving
let your requests be made known to God.

Please, let’s all pray without ceasing for God’s protection for our loved ones, for everyone around us, for everyone in the world, and for ourselves. Let’s pray for our leaders and leaders around the world to make wise decisions. What a heavy burden they must all feel. Let’s pray for them to be careful, wise, brave, and healthy.

And the peace of God,
which surpasses all comprehension,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

That peace is available to us, if we will pray and trust God with our prayers.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true,
whatever is honorable, whatever is right,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,
whatever is of good repute,
if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise,
dwell on these things.
The things you have learned and received
and heard and seen in me,
practice these things,
and the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:4-8

As you know, I listen to many audio books, especially about history. Most recently though, I decided to listen to something happy — and that was before our leaders started telling us to stay at home. I chose it the week of the tornado in the county next to ours which was the week after my mother passed away, which was only one month ago. It feels like much longer ago.

I chose Heidi by Johanna Spyri. It was a great choice for me. Heidi points us to God. It is honorable, right, and pure. It describes lovely details of God’s creation in a lovely part of the world. It is excellent and worthy of praise. It was good for me to dwell on it while I washed dishes and did laundry. I highly recommend it right now for yourself, for your children, or as a family read-aloud. I grew up on reruns of the Shirley Temple Heidi movie, but, ah, the book! What refreshment to my heart.

In 1943 during World War II, this teacher in Schenectady, New York, read Heidi to her fourth grade students.

The children wrote a play based on the book. They prepared to present the play to neighborhood children and their parents in order to raise money for the American Red Cross. In this photo, they are trying out for parts in the play.

These children are waiting for their cues during the performance.

This photo shows the audience and three performers acting in the play.

All photos courtesy Library of Congress.

Praise God that those public school students learned about the power of prayer, about patience while we wait for God’s perfect timing, and about repentance, in that powerful book for children — and adults.

People helped one another during World War II. They are helping one another now.

Our soul waits for the Lord;
He is our help and our shield.
For our heart rejoices in Him,
Because we trust in His holy name.
Psalm 33:20-21

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