by: Pocatello-Chubbuck Observer Columnist Barb Lissow

April 19, 2020

Backstroke

“Be joyful always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Pocatello-Chubbuck Observer Columnist Barb Lissow

Many years ago (and the older I get, it’s amazing how quickly the years fly by) a bath soap company ran a wonderfully wise TV commercial.  The advertisement opened by showing a young couple sleeping in a dark room with a blaring alarm clock waking the pair out of a peaceful rest.  In the room’s background, thunder was rumbling, heavy rain was blanketing the glass window, and the room was intermittently brightened by flashes of lightening.  It appeared to be a dark, gloomy and dreary morning!

The husband reaches over and turns off the alarm, kisses his wife, and tells her, “Just stay in bed sweetheart.”  He then heads to the bathroom (thankfully in a full set of pajamas).  The next scene shows the husband (from the shoulders up) in a steamy shower, washing and all lathered up, singing out loud—visibly feeling wide awake and ready to start his day with a smile!

Fade out and roll in the next scene: Our newly showered young husband re-enters the bedroom in his sharply pressed police uniform as his wife sits up, points at the torrential stream of water hitting the window, and worriedly asks: “But honey, how are you going to get to work this morning?”  Her handsome and smiling husband dons his policeman’s cap, begins moving his arms back and forth over his head, and replies, “BACKSTROKE!”

You know, that crazy one-minute TV commercial has stayed in my memory filing cabinet, and has been pulled out time and time again when I’m faced with uncomfortable situations—especially lately with the new-normal challenges we find ourselves facing with the world-wide illness called Covid-19!  Do I now look at the dark, rain-soaked window and tell myself, “Nope, not today,” and crawl back into bed?  Or do I look at that downpour as a way to bring honor and glory to my God by my attitude of trust in Him, wave my arms back and forth over my head, and shout, “Give me the strength Lord to backstroke out of this mess” – what kind of attitude should I have in these unusual times?

God gives us guidance throughout His Word as to what kind of an attitude we are to have even in the worst of situations: “Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain” Philippians 2:14-16.

Does the Lord want us to wallow in a pity party when things are not as we’d like them, or does He exhort us to find strength in Him, to trust in Him, and to overcome even the worst of trials and tribulations?  His Word once again tells us: Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.” 1 Peter 4:12-13.

So, my dear friends be prepared to overcome your challenges – join God’s swim team: Stand up, stretch those beautiful arms and hands toward Heaven, and practice your backstroke giving God all the glory and praise!

In Christ’s love,

Barb Fischer Lissow, Faith Lutheran Church, Pocatello, Idaho

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