Inspired To Carry On

All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of God.

Psalm 98:3cd

On this second day of the New Year unfolds, I’m inspired by faith and hope. I’ve encountered these virtues in people whom many view as having little reason for either. A friend who continues cancer treatment celebrated Christmas bravely. He embraces 2020 with the certainty that blessings lie ahead. Family members and friends who placed a husband and dad, grandpa and father-in-law, brother and cousin and best friend into God’s hands over the past few months mourn their losses by supporting those who mourn with them with unrivaled love. A discouraged friend who gives herself in service to others day in and day out now sees that her hope is fulfilled in everyone she touches. She’s learning to accept their thanks graciously and to take time for herself on occasion.

Too many in our human family suffer the worst this life has to offer. Each one endures his or her personal variety of devastation. It is God’s presence at their sides which encourages our hope that each one will endure and emerge with grace.

It really is true that God’s salvation extends to all the ends of the earth. It’s up to us to open our eyes to see it, our arms to embrace it and our hearts to share it.

Loving God, wherever I find myself today, help me to move beyond my own trials with faith and hope in better things to come. In the process, help me to encourage others to do the same.

©2019 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

My Soul’s Landscape

From that desert, the whole Israelite
community journeyed in stages as the
Lord directed…
.
From Exodus 17:1

One of Israel’s remarkable characteristics is its varied landscape. Because I’m accustomed to the promise of spring buds, summer’s lush greenery, autumn’s array of color and winter’s icy white, I was most taken by Israel’s deserts. The arid countryside offers miniature versions of our Grand Canyon, rocky mesas and small mountains. Each of these boasts barely visible natural caves and crevices. To some, they appear to be dark and frightening dens of the unknown. To a desert-dweller, these sometimes tiny niches in the rocky expanse provide life-giving shelter at the peak of a day’s heat.

Another of the desert’s life-giving gifts is the smattering of thorny bushes and brownish-green grasses which appear out of nowhere in every direction. As we drove through a particularly rocky area, I noticed a lone ibex nestled on an extremely narrow crag. When I spotted the tufts of green dangling from its mouth, I understood the ibex’s bravery in selecting this precarious nook. This much-needed lunch was well worth the effort!

As we drove on, I considered the goodness I’d found in what I thought to be barren and lifeless landscape. It reminded me of myself on occasion. Though I should know better, I allow uncontrollable situations to drain the life out of me. Though I work hard to improve things, I see no progress. Then, in the midst of my misery, someone thanks me for something which I hardly recall doing. Another person compliments the reflection I posted a few weeks back. Someone else responds to my cheerful greeting because he needed to smile that day. I receive a thank you note and a pat on the back for what I considered trivial deeds.

I’ve discovered that, even when we think we’re no more fruitful than the most barren of deserts, God draws goodness from us.

Ever-loving God, thank you for drawing goodness from me, even when I dwell in the desert.

©2018 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Faith in Hope-Fulfilled

All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation of God.

Psalm 98:3cd

As the New Year unfolds, I find myself inspired by faith and hope. I’ve encountered these virtues in people whom many view as having little reason for either. A young woman who continues cancer treatment celebrated Christmas bravely. She embraces 2017 with the certainty that blessings lie ahead. Family members who placed their dear husband, dad, grandpa, father-in-law, brother and cousin in God’s hands a few weeks ago mourn their loss by supporting one another with unrivaled love. A discouraged friend who gives herself in service to others day in and day out is beginning to see that her hope is fulfilled in everyone she touches. She’s learning to accept their thanks graciously and to take time for herself on occasion.

Too many in our human family suffer the worst this life has to offer. Each one endures his or her personal variety of devastation. Still, God’s presence at their sides encourages our hope that each one will endure and emerge with grace.

It is true that God’s salvation extends to all the ends of the earth. It’s up to us to open our eyes to see it, our arms to embrace it and our hearts to share it.

Loving God, wherever I find myself today, help me to move beyond my own trials with faith and hope in better things to come. In the process, help me to encourage others to do the same.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved