Note: I hope you enjoy this fiction story I wrote. I based it on the personal experience column I submitted for the Oct. 2021 issue of Chapel Hill News and Views magazine.
As Sharon swiped the perspiration from her face, she said, “I feel sad about all the stuff that’s going on in our world. I wonder when—or if—life will return to normal again, don’t you?”
“Yes, I do! Elaine replied.
After the two friends topped the hill on their walk around their neighborhood, Elaine recovered enough breath to continue the conversation.
“Early this morning, the words in an old hymn came to mind...the one that says, “I need Thee every hour…stay Thou nearby.”
Sharon smiled. “I love that song! I wish more people, including myself, realized that human strength and human wisdom are not adequate to deal with life’s challenges.”
“Life is hard, isn’t it? It was hard even for the saints of old.”
Sharon stopped. Making eye contact with Elaine, she said, “Funny you should mention that. I've been thinking about Psalm 18 that my pastor read last Sunday morning. I read it again this morning in the Contemporary English Version. Just listen.”
Sharon opened up the YouVersion app on her cell phone and read verse 4: “Death had wrapped its ropes around me, and I was almost swallowed by its flooding waters.”
“Wow!” Elaine said. “As bad as things are today, I wouldn’t want to swap situations with him, would you? But…don’t keep me in suspense. What did David do?”
“He cried out to the Lord for help! And the Lord heard David’s cries and rescued him.”
“I imagine David was one happy man!” Elaine said, grinning at her friend.
“Yep! But he didn’t just say, ‘Thank You very much.’ He took time to praise God. Listen to what David said in verses 30b-32: ‘You are a shield for those who run to you for help…You give me strength and guide me right.’”
As they started up the next hill, Elaine said, “I love stories about real people with real problems, don’t you? I learn so much from them.”
They walked on in silence for a bit. Then Elaine said, “While doing my daily Bible reading this morning, I read the 3rd chapter of Lamentations. I can sooo relate to what the writer said.”
This time Elaine was the one who opened up YouVersion on her phone. “Listen to what he says in verses 19-24:
Just thinking of my troubles and my lonely wanderings makes me miserable. That’s all I ever think about, and I am depressed. Then I remember something that fills me with hope. The LORD’s kindness never fails! If he had not been merciful, we would have been destroyed. The LORD can always be trusted to show mercy each morning. Deep in my heart I say, “The LORD is all I need. I can depend on him!”
Sharon said, “He’s so right about that. Since we can’t stop thinking about all the stuff that’s going on, and neither could he, maybe we should do what he did. Take time out to focus on what we KNOW to be true about God and to remember how He has always helped us through our difficulties—little ones and big ones.”
When they reached Elaine’s driveway, they paused to chat a bit more, as was their custom. Sharon said, “Let’s take a minute and pray together.”
Elaine nodded. “O Father, since problems ranging from mere annoyances to major upheavals continue to plague the human race, we often feel powerless and hopeless and full of despair. But today we cry out to You as countless other people of faith have done. We say, ‘O Father, we don’t understand why certain things happen, particularly to good people and innocent children. We don’t know what to do or say to reduce suffering. We don’t know when relief may come. But we know that You know.”
Elaine paused in order to give Sharon an opportunity to pray. “O, Father, we do look to You. We cry out to You regarding the needs of others as well as our own. While we wait for You to intervene, help us to remember, with thanksgiving, the countless times when You came to our aid when we felt scared and hopeless.”
When Sharon’s voice broke, Elaine prayed while Sharon regained her composure. “Help us to quiet our anxious thoughts by recalling the promises You’ve made, including this one: ‘I am the LORD your God. I am holding your hand, so don’t be afraid. I am here to help you’ (Isaiah 41:13, CEV).
“So, Father, we will cry out to You again and again. We will believe You love us and want to help us even more than we want to help our children.
“O Father, help us to live in faith, fully assured of this truth expressed in Ephesians 3:20-21: You are indeed able to do far more than anyone can ever ask for or even imagine. Thank You, Father.”
Sharon and Elaine both said, “Amen” and hugged each other. “See you tomorrow!
As they walked toward their homes, each hummed the old song, I Need Thee Every Hour, for indeed they did need Him. Don’t we all?
©2021 by Johnnie Ann Gaskill