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THE WRITER'S STORY By Bill Stoner

As I sit at my desk wondering what words will flow into my mind and thus onto the pages of the Recharge, I must confess, I have no idea! I’ve been thinking of what I can write that would encourage you and inspire you to be faithful to your Heavenly Father today. What words of wisdom would challenge you to put aside your discontent, your anger, or your personal feelings of doubt or disparity? All of these are valid emotions that some of us have probably been harboring. All of these feelings need to be addressed, including my own.

You see, this has been hectic week. As a matter of fact, I have a friend who used to say “Can I just take a vacation from Christianity this week? I always gave him the same reply, “No you can’t.” And so, I am committed to being a Christian witness this week and every week to follow.  However, this past week didn’t start out too well. I was sick and I couldn’t teach Sunday School. I absolutely love to teach Sunday School where I can talk to the kids, find out what has happened in their week and ask them how I can pray for them. It gives me a window into their souls to see them respond to the Gospel. That is a huge highlight for my week!

And then the week continued. For about one day I didn’t feel that bad and then I started feeling sick again, really sick, a mixture of my asthma (I couldn’t breathe very well) and my sinus infection (made my head feel like a beachball). Because of these my Editor suggested (okay, insisted) I go to the doctor. Which I did (reluctantly) and that kept me from being able to substitute teach at the local elementary school. Again, substitute teaching is something I really enjoy!

And so how do I justify this? How can I write a Recharge extoling the benefits and praising God in all things, and as soon the bottom falls out of my week, I’m the first asking the question: “Why me Lord?”. There are many scriptures that say how we should respond when things go wrong. When up seems to be down and down seems to be up. When all your plans seem not to be working. There is a passage in Joshua 1: 8-9, that speaks to the central theme to being obedient to God: “Do not let this book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on day and night so that you may be careful to do everything in. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

That is what I needed to hear. That God will be with me wherever I go, whether I get sick or not; whether I can teach this week or not. Each situation is different, but none of them should define my relationship to Him. Each hardship has its own disappointment and discouragements, but each must begin with making sure I meditate on His Word, day and night. The Apostle Paul was a good example of someone who knew what suffering was.  From 2 Corinthians 11 we learn that Paul received 40 lashes from the Jews, he was beaten, he was stoned, and he was shipwrecked (just to name a few). Paul was able to endure all of that and still say “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18)

My being sick this week may have caused me to be a little depressed, but it certainly doesn’t rise to Paul’s level of despair and disappointment. I continue to thank Him for His powerful word and His gracious spirit. Now I need to get back to work and figure out what I’m going to write this week for Recharge…..