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May 13 -- "Tomato Water and a Cry for Help"

I was raised in a very traditional way when it came to, who had what roll, in our house. My father brought home the money, and my mom took care of the house. Only once in my childhood do I remember my father making a meal, and it was a disaster. It was a Saturday morning and my sister and I noticed that my mom didn’t get out of bed. When we asked Dad what was going on, he told us that she had the flu. Lunchtime came and my sister and I sat down. Dad looked a bit confused as he opened one cupboard door after another. He eventually found a can of Tomato soup and proudly announced that that was what we were going to have. He opened the can, put the soup into a pan (so far, so good), then read the instructions and proceeded to fill the empty tomato soup can with water. Right before he poured it into the pan, my sister said, “Mom uses milk.” I added, “You’re supposed to use milk.” My Father, shrugged off our suggestion and said, “Water will work just as good as milk.” After heating it up, he distributed the contents into three bowls. Let me tell you, there is a reason why the instructions call for the cook to use milk. The tomato water in our bowls was horrendous! “It’s fine, just eat it!” was my Dad’s response to the faces we made with each spoonful. Somehow my sister and I finished our lunch. As we washed the dishes afterwards, we decided that something had to be done before supper (Lord, only knew what his plan for that meal was!). To preempt what we knew would be Dad’s second disaster of the day, we waited for our him to go outside and then we rushed into the bedroom. Mom looked really sick, but the two of us had come to the conclusion that if Dad kept fixing meals, we would surely end up looking worse. “Mom,” I said, gently waking her up. “I know you’re sick, but you have to get up.” Slowly one eye opened. My sister took center stage, “Yeah, mom, you have too. Dad made a mess of lunch and we don’t want him fixing supper.” My mom turned away from us and whispered, “You’ll be fine.” She thought that would do the trick. It did not! “Mom,” I said, “Dad put water in the tomato soup.” My mom to turn back to us and opened the other eye. “He did,” my sister chimed in. “It was awful.” She told us to go away and let her sleep a little bit longer, so we did. And somehow this flu ridden, fever-infected woman made supper. I didn’t appreciate that event nearly as much as I should have (though my sister and I did thank her profusely after the meal). We cried out, and she for our sake. In many places the Psalms start out with a call for God to act and save His people. After a time of pleading and lament, these psalms end with the people praising God for his mighty rescue. A lot of the anxiety that we are feeling these days is that gut-level emotion that tells us something isn’t right. And we are correct, but the problem is that by nature when we know something isn’t right, our instinct is to “Do something.” And so we try one thing and then another and then another, but the fact of the matter is Covid-19 is too big for any of us to handle and overcome. And with that reality, our anxiety rises even more. There is only one healthy way to deal with this anxiety and angst, and that is to admit we can’t fix the problem and turn to the one who can; and that one is God. M. Craig Barnes in his book “Sacred Thirst” writes this: “When the church prays, it puts the world back into the hands of a risen Savior. What could you possibly plan that would be more effective than this?” Yes, we are facing a difficult time in our world. No, we can’t fix it, but we can call out to the one who can help in the situation and they will act – ask the Psalmist; ask my mom! God bless us all, Dan

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