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Help & A Shield

Whelp, I hit the treadmill today. Big sigh. Outside the window where I walk is a large pine tree. As the incline rose, I examined the tree and reflected on one of the first overnight hikes I’d ever attempted. The burn in my thighs took me to Southwestern Virginia, deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains, with steep grades and a winding path before me. The only thing missing was the scent, pack, and good, good friends. Well—that and the build of an athletic teenager; today the mid-forty-year-old had to do.

The reminiscing was nice, and I smiled over that first adventure along with many others. Those fun memories were made possible by people who volunteered many youth service hours to our little troop. Oh, how I appreciate their willingness. As an educator, I couldn’t help but consider the planning and logistics of such a trip. Anything could have happened out there, most of us teenagers were novice hikers, not to mention we were far from medical facilities if something did happen. And no, I’m not being a negative Nancy—I know how valuable the school nurse is.

As my mind continued to wander, I landed on the morning devotional I read just a few hours prior. Those youth leaders were capable of such feats because they believed, not only in the service they rendered but also in the one of whom their faith was sure. You can’t convince me they went out to the wild with a troop of teenage girls and didn’t exercise a whole lot of prayer and faith.

This line of reasoning triggered another memory—

Last summer, in the middle of Corona-cation, I saw through social media that one of my former students was volunteering at a Christian summer camp and said she was happy to receive mail, so I wrote her. Happily, her response came a week or so later and I’d like to share a few of her words.

…this has been the best summer and season of my life. We’ve had 10 weeks, 2000 campers + a 50 staff session change at the 5th week but not a single case of Corona. God is ­so good! …No one other than God could’ve done it…we’ve had staph, bed bugs, summer cold, and mold, but no Corona…I trust Him. God’s promise to keep me safe was fulfilled…

Y’all. If that’s not a fiery-spirit-filled testimony I don’t know what is. The entire note was like that. I was touched on a deep level and reinvigorated by her testimony at a time when I needed lifting. God is good, very good. We have been promised to have help in our times of need and a shield as we walk along the winding paths, steep grades, or down in the ditches through the darkness. He is the light and the life that helps us put one step in front of the other.

I encourage you to take some time to look back at when God has been your help and shield. Write a note about it and share it with someone who you believe will receive it. We are all better together and there is an amazing value to sharing testimonies such as these.

We put our hope in the Lord.

He is our help and our shield.

In him our hearts rejoice,

for we trust in his holy name.

Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord,

for our hope is in you alone.

Psalm 33:20-22 NLT

-From the Fire Ring Blog, Vol. 1, No. 12

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