At Autumn View Gardens in Creve Coeur, we know it's natural to struggle emotionally and spiritually at times. Daily aches and pains can worsen with changes in the weather, and bouts of loneliness can happen when loved ones miss visits due to overwhelming schedules.
But helplessness isn't a permanent condition, and it's one that can often be addressed. One way to combat negative feelings is to turn to the Bible for comfort and hope. Among the many inspiring stories found within its covers, these three characters remind us that all of our negative feelings couldn't be further from the truth.
When we look to the Book of Ruth for inspiration, it's often its namesake we focus on. However, this beautiful story of love shows us how to serve one another in the ways that we can.
Ruth looks after her mother-in-law through her efforts to provide food for them both, and Naomi, in turn, looks after Ruth via her lifetime of knowledge and family connections.
Though she could not physically join Ruth gleaning in the fields, Naomi recognized the opportunities the Lord was providing. Instead of feeling helpless in the face of past heartbreaks and overwhelming circumstances, she looks to the future and offers guidance to her daughter-in-law.
This encouragement and their mutual desire to care for one another ultimately leads to a second chance at life for both women, as seen in Ruth 4:14-15.
Long after Paul was arrested and confined to await trial in Rome, he continued to teach those who visited him and to write his friends and church family.
Paul's most fervent letters were written to those closest to his heart, as seen in 2 Timothy 1:12-13, when he exhorts his young student to continue to grow in faith.
After a lifetime of ministry and travel, Paul's reach may have seemed much smaller due to his circumstances. Yet in truth, his letters are among the most powerful parts of his legacy, and their influence continues to shape the Body of Christ to this day.
Our own testimonies are deeply personal. When we start to feel useless, we should remember that God has used the experiences of our lives to shape and build us over time. And if we pursue the opportunities He provides to share with those around us, He can use our lives to work in the hearts of our neighbors, friends and family.
The passage of time is steady, but our perception of it can vary greatly. Activity and laughter can make time seem to fly by one day, whereas difficulties and unfulfilled longings can make every moment seem to crawl by.
Abraham was 75 years old when God first told him to leave his home country and travel to the land his descendants would inherit. And it was another 15 years before God renewed that promise in Genesis 15:5 by telling him to go outside and count the stars.
A tall order indeed, for a 90-year-old man to stargaze and imagine the same number of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to be born in future generations.
Hebrews 6: 13-20 reminds us that God will never lie, and that we can rest on the assurance of the promises that He has given to us and our families through His son Jesus.
Even when we don't understand the how and the wait makes us feel forgotten, we too can count the stars, watch for God's opportunities to make a difference, share our testimony and trust that our Lord will never leave us nor forsake us.