Finding God in the Aftermath

By Marcy Barthelette

Be glad in the Lord always! Again I say, be glad! Philippians 4:4

Sunday, September 12, 2021: Today was the day we went back to church — for the second time!

Back in April Ken and I had completed the vaccination process and begun venturing out. It was so wonderful to hug our kids and grandkids again, to join with other believers in an in-person church service rather than watching online, to eat out occasionally, and even to enjoy a couple of camping trips. Then Delta came calling and by mid-July, we were back into isolation. Let me tell you, it was a lot harder the second time. Our little taste of freedom made us reluctant to retreat but for our own safety and that of those around us, we decided it was best for us to lay low for a while and let this wicked new strain of the virus settle down a bit.

On this first Sunday morning physically back in church Pastor Dennis reminded us how our nation came together after watching the World Trade Center crumble to the ground on what we refer to as 9-11. People everywhere were jumping into situations beyond their typical strength and capability just to take care of those who were injured, those who hadn’t heard from their loved ones, those who were dealing with trying to understand, and those who didn’t survive. People who couldn’t physically be there stood by roadsides and waved flags, they flew the flag above their homes and they joined together in prayer and unity. Prayer and Unity! Those words were key to emerging from such a tragedy and moving forward to create a better world for our descendants to inherit.

No one has ever imagined what God has prepared for those who love him. I Corinthians 2:9

Today we see ourselves in the midst of an epic pandemic while cleaning up after a major hurricane and fighting wildfires in the west that are sending plumes of smoke across the nation. And that’s just a fraction of what’s happening in the US alone. How are we, as a nation, responding? Certainly not as a unified America. Yet, in the aftermath of these tragic events, there is a whisper of God in the air. It comes through the nurse holding the hand of a dying COVID patient. It is present in the smiles of the people when a Convoy of Hope driver pulls into a storm-ravaged city with a truckload of much-needed supplies. It is felt as electrical repair personnel from many states restore power to the people of Louisiana. And around the world, it appears in the form of an American Red Cross volunteer offering a hug and the basic necessities that bring

 opportunity for survival.

Our nation finds its strength in unity with one another and unity with God. We have been known, since our very beginning as a Christian nation, and yet, along the way, we have wandered from our roots, just as the Israelites did in Biblical days. It’s time for us to rally in one accord, to remember who’s really in control, and to let His light shine through in the way that we live. Will it be easy? Absolutely not! But with God, all things really are possible!

It’s time to stop playing the blame game and to get on with living. We can find lots of unpleasantness buried deep in our own hearts that need some serious tending, so let’s stop worrying about things we can’t really change and concentrate on those we can. I’ve heard it often said that the only attitude we can change is our own and I feel certain that I need to take a good hard look at how mine can be improved. How about you?

Where do you turn when trouble haunts you? Who do you blame when everything seems inside out and backward? How do you deal with anger toward God when things go badly? Who do you thank when you feel on top of the world? Think about that. Who do you turn to when all is right in your world? It’s easy to turn to God when help is needed but harder when times are good. Those are the times when we start believing in ourselves more than our God. It is said that a lot more praying happens in lean times than when we prosper.

In 2005, Carrie Underwood launched her country music career with a song called, “Jesus, Take the Wheel”. It vividly paints a picture of a young woman driving the road toward home, to mom and dad, with her baby in the back seat. In an instant, she finds herself careening toward oblivion and in that instant, she knows she can’t do this alone and she cries out, Jesus, take the wheel. She miraculously survives the crash and surrenders her life to Him. The chorus goes like this.

Jesus, take the wheel, take it from my hands cause I can’t do this on my own. I’m letting go. So give me one more chance and save me from this road I’m on. Jesus, take the wheel.
Written by Brett James, Hillary Lindsey and Gordie Sampson

Whether you interpret the lyrics literally or metaphorically, the result is the same. We can’t live this life alone. You may release your wheel in a private and very personal conversation with God or you may find Him working through one of the many people who devote their lives to helping others. Whatever road you’re careening down; a broken marriage, a child lost, a terminal illness, your job given to another; it doesn’t matter. If the excitement of the wedding day is now over or you have given birth to a tiny child, your work has just begun. If you just finished college and are wondering where you go from here, you have important decisions to make. If you’ve just been given a clean bill of health, you now have a future ahead of you. Aftermath occurs following any event, good or bad. The choice is ours, to scoot over into the passenger seat and let Jesus take the wheel or not. He’s always waiting right there, always. He’s there before, during, and after anything we ever experience. So let Him have the aftermath of every good or bad moment and turn it into something beautiful! He promised He would and God doesn’t break promises!

….until you grow old. I am the one, and until you turn gray, I will support you. I have done it, and I will continue to bear it; I will support and I will rescue. Isaiah 46:4 CEB

One Response to “Finding God in the Aftermath”

  1. Teresa Rowden says:

    Well said. Hopefully everyone that sits down to read this will pull up their boot straps and move forward. It just takes one person to make a difference, then another one, and then before you know it a village has united and making a bug difference.

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