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We have heard of individuals who have been asked, “If you were stranded on a desert island, what would be the one thing you couldn’t live without?” Many things instantly pop into my mind which I would not want to be without. You’re probably wondering why am I talking about a subject such as being stranded. It’s a conglomeration several events which have taken place over the last week or two. Whether I have experienced them personally does not matter, rather I have a keen awareness of what’s happening in and around my world. For instance, many people have had medical emergency situations, and I’ve wanted to be there for them, but I am feeling stranded. Many things can cause us to feel stranded. (I’m sharing this because I think others within our congregation can relate with these kinds of feelings right now.) My mother called me a week or so ago crying; my youngest brother was in the ambulance on his way to the hospital and she was feeling overwhelmed. There is just about nothing more troubling than when your mother calls and you hear the pain in her voice. Yet, we realize there’s not always something we can do, other than to pray, when a loved one is in a challenging situation, whether it’s medical, relational or emotional. On Sunday we received the news about Alan Hazard who was in a very difficult medical situation. Any pastor wants to be able to be available for his congregation, even if we have to drive a distance and pray for miracles and comfort loved ones. Hannah called her parents and said just pray, there was really nothing else we could do by being there in person. Next, a couple days ago my son called me from the Twin Cities; he is a senior in college with limited skills for fixing his car. I can hear the concern in his voice and he is worried about his car being towed. Even as I write this article we are texting each other to find a good solution until I can help him on Friday. I’ve been trying to figure how to get there sooner, and thankfully a temporary solution was found, but there is still the immediate need to fix this, to help him now. Again, I had another moment this week of feeling stranded. Even more ironically, as I finish writing today, I decided to cancel Thursday Night Bible Study. I didn’t want anyone to get stranded on the way, in our parking lot, or on the way back home. There is no joy in feeling alone, stranded, with no rescue in sight. Yet we should all be reminded about the life of the Apostle Paul. Consider his words found in 2 Corinthians 10:24–28 “Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm. Then, besides all this, I have the daily burden of my concern for all the churches.” We are never alone, we are never truly stranded, God is our ever-present help in time of trouble. Reach out to Him when you are feeling helpless.

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