Last year, during one of our aid projects in a poor community, we met Benson, a young freelance reporter. He offered to take some professional photos for our website. On another occasion, Benson asked us for prayer regarding the hardship he had experienced for most of his life, and which still affected him in a negative way. Let me tell you his story.
I spent a lot of my youth traveling on public transport. The buses in Poland were often so crowded that you could literally be held up by the crowd without putting any weight on your legs or holding on. But we lived at the end of the line, so the bus would gradually empty out, and as the bus emptied, you had to be either sitting or holding on if you didn’t want to fall over.
I am by nature something of a worrywart, almost constantly preoccupied with one worry or another.
I am also a multitasker. I can do just about anything and worry at the same time. For example, this morning I was trying to take my daily quiet time, reading a few pages of devotional material and reflecting on it (I say “trying,” because at the same time I was worrying about the week’s work ahead of me, ongoing health problems, and an upcoming trip) when this sentence jumped off of the page: “In the Bible, the admonition to ‘fear not’ is used more than 100 times.” I guess God knew our inclination to worry and fear.
I finally got around to changing something that had discouraged me for years. We had put a rather cheap, full-length mirror on the back of our bedroom door some years ago. The funny thing about this mirror was that it was almost like a funhouse mirror. The farther away you stood from it, the shorter and wider you looked. Some of my friends jokingly called it “the Hobbit mirror,” because when you stood across the room, it almost made you look like a Hobbit.
“Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” Elisha’s servant asked.
The king of Aram (present-day Syria) was at war with ancient Israel and had sent an entire army to the city of Dothan to capture the prophet Elisha. They came by night, so when Elisha’s servant woke and went out early in the morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city.
It had been a long, busy summer with many projects and activities focused around keeping our Croatian volunteer center functioning smoothly, and my husband Paolo and I were looking forward to a relaxing vacation on the Croatian coast. It was still warm, so we decided to combine some beach time with some hiking.
“I just can’t do it; it’s too much work for me!” Robbie cried with despair in his eyes. I’d been helping to homeschool Robbie from first grade, and at the start of second grade, he was overwhelmed by his workload.
“How many lessons will I have every day? And every week? And every month?” More and more tears welled up in his eyes as we reviewed the school year ahead of us.
During a weekly spelling test with a class of first-graders, I noticed that one of my students, Cindy, hadn’t written anything on her test. “I can’t remember any answers!” she choked out through tears. I took her hand and led her outside to take a few deep breaths. Together, we went over the phonetic sounds of the spelling words I’d taught that week. With some coaching and encouragement, she returned to her desk and managed to recall two out of eight spelling words. She was relieved to have remembered that much, but the experience seemed to have dealt her shaky confidence a hard blow.