It is a sad time and also a glad time. It is a time for personal and private introspection, a time to prayerfully contemplate our inner thoughts and examine our motives.
It is a time to see ourselves in the light of God’s expectations of us and a time to seriously consider our relationship with God. John Dryden said 500 years ago, “Think much and speak little.” Most of us think little and speak much.
When the ark of God was brought to the city of David, all the tribes of Israel and the elders were gathered in Jerusalem. David said, “Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people. Talk about his wondrous works, he is the Lord our God.” Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonica: “In everything give thanks; this is the will of God.”
“Sing unto the Lord, and shew forth from day to day his salvation. Declare his glory among the heathen, and his marvelous works among the nations, for great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; he is also to be feared above all other gods.”
The late comedian George Carlin made us laugh. Soon after his wife died, he wrote some thought-provoking lines about life and what is really important. I have taken the editorial privilege to alter some of his words without doing damage to his thoughts.
“The paradox of our time in history is that we have built taller buildings but shorter tempers; wider freeways, but less tolerance. We have larger houses but smaller families; we have more conveniences, but less time. We drink too much, drive too fast, smoke too much and spend money foolishly; laugh too little, stay up too late, read too little and watch too much TV. We hate too often, love too seldom and pray too little.
“We’ve learned to make a living, but not a life. We live longer, but not better. We can explore the surface of Mars, but have neglected our neighbors across the street. We have conquered outer space, but have failed to conquer ourselves.
“We have cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We have powerful men in big jobs with little character. We have more telephones and less communication. We have fewer marriages and more divorces.
“It’s important to tell your loved ones that you love them. A kind word can heal a broken heart. A gentle touch can inspire a broken spirit. Some day you may find yourself walking alone. Always remember that life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but the moments in life that take our breath away.”
“Trust in God” is a theme that runs through the Bible like a golden thread through the fabric of life. When you suffer, when you are at your wits end, when everything is falling apart, keep trusting in God.
When you lose your way and everyone has forsaken you, remember that Jesus is the way. He is the answer to all our needs. When darkness covers us, he is the light of the world. When we are hungry, he is the bread of life; when we are thirsty, he is the water of life. When we are lost, he is the searching shepherd.
Robert V. Ozment is a retired United Methodist minister.