There used to be a poster of a cat holding onto a rope with the words hang in there. The cat looked desperate, terrified, and was clutching with the its claws to keep the inevitable from happening. The poster always annoyed me. I think it was meant to encourage, but I didn’t see it that way. In my life, I have found desperately holding onto just about anything has never worked for me. I want to tell the cat, “Let go. Fall! You can’t hold on forever, it will be ok.”
I began thinking about this once again as I sat looking out at the snow, the awful roads, the list of school closings, reports of weather affecting the delivery of vaccines, and the lack of power in Texas. Even the life expectancy of people in the USA is decreasing. “Hang in there” doesn’t seem helpful. We’ve all hung in there in one way or another for a year.
So, instead I’m reading these words today from the Apostle Paul in my favorite letter of his written to the church in Philippi. He's been through much more than I can even imagine: shipwrecked, floggings, imprisonment, threats, stoning. Paul is writing from his prison cell. I think Paul has better words for us to focus on.
Philippians 4: 6-9
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious - the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.
Let go. Fall. We can’t hold on forever, we were never meant to. It will be ok. God’s got this.
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