Inspiration infuses you with renewed zest for life. It influences, moves, or guides you to action. But we all have times when we hit the inspiration skids; when we not only lack inspiration but might even doubt that we’ll ever feel inspired again.
G. K. Chesterton once said, “The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose, new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes.”1
“If we can climb this mountain, there’s nothing we can’t overcome together!”
I remember my dad struggling to smile and look hopeful as he pointed toward a rocky mountain about 100 feet from the highway. I was 13, and my dad, my older brother, and I were driving through the scorching rocky deserts of Mexico back to the United States to take care of some business.
The books on the shelf have similar titles: Slowing Down Modern Life, The Rush Culture, Putting a Price on Speed … Most everyone agrees that contemporary life is lived in the fast lane, and we’re battling the consequences in the form of stress and other maladies. It might seem as though life was much simpler a hundred years ago, but even changes taking place back then were a cause for concern for people at the time, as illustrated in the following extracts:
I see your struggles and hear your calls for help. When you feel all alone, I am there. I feel your heartaches, and wait for you to come to Me in prayer. Come into My sanctuary, into that secret place that you and I can share. There I am able to lift the worries, the cares, and the confusion. There I can restore your feeling of purpose and infuse you with strength to go on.
“The conclusion”—the speaker said in a booming voice—“is simple. Thank God for the small things in life. Don’t look for the millions, but be thankful for the cents.” Everybody applauded.
The seminar was over. With my notebook full of hastily scribbled notes and two new self-help books on how to enjoy life, I left the meeting hall somewhat bewildered.
Another stressful, exhausting day was finally over. Frustration and fatigue hung heavily over me, a combination of hassles with my cranky computer, a gloomy sky with drizzles and chilling winds, the exasperation of burning the chicken for dinner—and a dozen other everyday annoyances.
After dinner with the burnt chicken, I set out for a nearby park. My mom often says that “nature can soothe ruffled nerves like nothing else can,” and I decided to put her advice to the test.
I find that the days I start with God are the best. He’s like a good cup of coffee: I breathe deeply of its aroma, savor its taste, enjoy its warmth on a cold morning, and let its goodness stir me into action for the day. It makes getting up in the morning something to look forward to, and I carry the happy memory of it throughout the day.
Living in a big city can take its toll on our spirits, minds, and bodies. The crowded conditions, the selfishness, the barrage of media, the stress of normal life, relationships, health, finances, family, friends, coworkers … it can all get to us if we do not take time daily to refresh our spirit with a good reading of God’s Word and prayer.
Bill and I are old friends. When we met up for coffee recently, he told me about his difficulties. His wife has developed a chronic condition which has left her bedridden, and Bill is struggling with her care. Meanwhile, he is overwhelmed by the demands at his workplace and the fear of losing his job. This has led to a crisis of faith. I had found myself battling with similar emotions not long ago. We prayed together, but later I felt I had more to share, and this is the letter I wrote.