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THE WORST OF TIMES…THE BEST OF TIMES…

Charles Dickens (The Christmas Carole) reminds us that throughout history, there have been times like this. When looking at life and society through smoked lens, we see it all as a dark, dismal, and hopeless situation—all around us. Shrinking economy, wars and rumors of wars, promise of higher taxes and cost of living, unemployment and such: where will it end; where will it lead us? So let’s just sit down and have a good pity party, let’s blame the politician, or better yet-blame God! What a mess! This is the worst of times—what can we do? Where cane we turn? Who really has the answers for us?

 Oh, but this is the best of times! What opportunities we have to rise above the circumstances around us and prove to the world what an “awesome God we love and serve.” People need a good word, a friend who will encourage and stand by them; we all need a “little bit of Good News”! In such times, many need to hear their friends and neighbors say “we care about you”. And show that love by actions of love and going the second mile! What a stage for us to “showcase” our Lord and all His wonderful promises! What a great challenge to read Paul’s epistles and be reminded how God used one man to spread the ‘love of God through Christ’ throughout the Gentile world! Yes, this has to be the best of times. Let’s not waste one minute on nay-sayers, worriers, and whiners.

 “The good ole days” were not the good old days! They were hard, long and demeaning in many ways. We all have a tendency to forget the hardships that attached themselves to the ‘wonderful memories’ of yesterday. Outdoor toilets (on winter mornings); cracks in homes allowing winter winds to whistle whatever tune they desired as they raced throughout the house; rounding up firewood to keep the smoky fire going; nail holes in the tin-roof that necessitated leak buckets to be placed all over the house during rainy times (catching the dripping water to the tune of “drip, drip, drip”). And there were many more of such nuisances to endure…at the tune of ‘good ole days.’ Let’s not try to bring them back, please!

 The Bible teaches us to seize the opportunities before us today, serve the Lord with joy and gladness, to come before God’s presence with thanksgiving and praise. Paul reminds us to put behind those ‘yesterdays’ and push hard on into tomorrow with great hope and expectation. The God who was with us in the hard times of yesterday is already waiting to meet us tomorrow. He issues the assurance that “His love is sufficient to surround us, strengthen and save us”. He can meet our needs. Yes, this can be the BEST TIMES of our lives.

 Just to read the promises in the last chapters of Revelation (and sense all God has in store for His saints). It is enough to make us yearn for that heavenly kingdom. We get ‘homesick’ for that land that we have never visited. But God promised ‘milk and honey’ for us in the Promised Land and many of us are ready to ‘possess that land.’ We sincerely pray “come, Lord Jesus, come.” We begin to sense how close we to our eternal rewards. It is just around the corner, beyond the bend, over the hill top, out yonder. We are “looking for that City built above.” Yes, the ‘BEST IS YET TO BE’.

 The glass is half-full, the weather forecast is “partly fair” and a beautiful rainbow is following the terrible storms in our life. Today is a gift from God, so we rejoice in it!  Yes, life is what we make it! So today, let’s allow God to control and guide us; let’s heed Paul’s admonishment to “keep on doing good” and love the brethren to the level we love ourselves.  Today is the “first day of the rest of our lives”- truly a present from God. Yes, IT IS THE BEST OF TIMES! God’s present to us is TODAY! Let’s unwrap it and enjoy it to the fullest. 

Bill Crider is Chaplain of Minden Medical Center