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  • Steve McFarland

Times Like These

A couple of the most common remarks I've heard on the news lately are “in these unpresented times” or “there has never been a time like this”. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

“In times like these, it helps to recall that there have always been times like these.” - Paul Harvey

He does not mean the actual event or the circumstances surrounding it are the same, but the human responses to the event and the emotions the event evokes are similar. Whether it’s a global pandemic like we face today, a regional tragedy like the fire in Paradise, or a personal challenge like the death of a loved one or being attacked by cancer. The person in the midst of any of these faces the same struggle with fear, anger, desperation, confusion, hopelessness, etc..

One of the greatest blessings the Lord gave me was to have the opportunity for many years to glean wisdom and perspective from my father. In his almost 100 years of life (80 as a disciple of Jesus) he experienced a lot of “times like these”. Here is a recounting of a few:

* He was born during World War I in which 20 million died world wide

* Also that year polio struck over 57,000 Americans 3,145 of which died

* When he was two 675,000 Americans died of the Spanish flu

* When he was five 206,000 were struck by diphtheria, 16,000 died

* When he was 13 till he was 23 there was The Great Depression (he told me a loaf of bread cost a dime, I asked “how much bread did you eat?” - “none” - “why?” - “never had a dime”)

* When he was 25 World War II started in which 78 million people died world wide

* Two years later his 18 month old son died

* When he was 89 he loved and cared for a wife who didn’t know who he was

* At 92, a couple months shy of 70 years of marriage, he preached her funeral

* In his time he saw the assignation of a president, the Korean War, Vietnam War, a 10 year measles epidemic that killed up to 10 thousand Americans a year, the cold war, and 9-11

My friend Nathen Thompson (the missionary) told me of the time he and his two brothers fulfilled a lifelong dream. They did a motorcycle trip across much of the US. He said without a doubt the highlight of the whole trip for all three of them was the same. It was an hour they spent sitting, talking with, and being prayed over by a 98 year old man. Nate said his enthusiasm and love for Christ powerfully impacted the three of them. That was dad.

The reason I write about dad’s experiences, first is to show as long as there has been sin in the world there has been hardships. Second is to encourage you with what encouraged him and helped him weather the hardships he faced. Dad knew there were always “times like these” but he also knew and believed the scripture “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever.” That includes “times like these.” His approach to dealing with life’s trials is one I recommend we all adopt. It can be summed up in the words of this old hymn;

In times like these you need a Savior,

In times like these you need an anchor;

Be very sure, be very sure,

Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!

This Rock is Jesus, Yes He's the One,

This Rock is Jesus, the only One;

Be very sure, be very sure,

Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!

Trust Jesus,

Pastor Steve

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