Notes from Jan

Where Are You?

June 26, 2023

Fear’s catchy. It lurks, then slips in when we’re tired or feeling out of sorts in body, mind or spirit. And that’s part of why I need reminders to fight fear with faith. Sunday’s sermon by Father Dean fed faith. The text came from Matthew 10. Jesus is having another heart to heart talk with his disciples. But the bottom line was Do not be afraid.

Well, they had plenty to fear and so do we. But that’s part of why I get up and go to church. Time with other scared folks reminds me that I’m not alone and we have resources to fight fear. When I dig into my fears, so much centers around my children, grands, and their friends. Our world’s in turmoil. The news feeds anxiety and young folks, especially, are anxious.

Then, yesterday’s reading in a devotional book recounted the story of Hagar and her son, Ishmael in Genesis 21. It’s a troubling story on so many levels. And it serves to remind us of consequences from taking matters into our own hands, as Sarah did. But it also speaks to God’s redemptive love, grace and mercy. How? Well, while Hagar wept and assumed the worst, an angel showed up.

An angel? Yes, because God heard Hagar and Ishmael’s cries and saw they were out of water in a wilderness and worse, out of hope. And so God nudged an angel to call to Hagar from heaven saying, “Do not be afraid, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is.” (Genesis 21:17b)

Oh, and then, “God opened Hagar’s eyes, and she saw a well.” (v. 19)

Well, well , well.

And so, I’m entrusting my family, friends, this world and myself to the God who sees and loves. This is Jesus who hears our cries and loves us where we are.

There’s hope within earshot and Living water within reach.

Just remember God’s got a well for you.

“Do not be afraid.”

All is well.

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  • Reply David Smith June 26, 2023 at 11:23 am

    And all manner of things shall be well…

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 26, 2023 at 12:07 pm

      Amen, dear Smitty! Whenever I see you at Gordon events, I’m reminded by your smile,love of life and engagement with others, “And all manner of things shall be well.” Thank you for living this truth.

  • Reply Marty Lefever June 26, 2023 at 1:34 pm

    Just what we needed today!! Not to mention the wisdom and love written in each new card Dale and I open each day! What a gift they have been to both of us…truly a spoonful of love sugar!! We feel all the love and all the warm hugs from afar. Thank you, dear sweet Jan!!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 26, 2023 at 4:48 pm

      Oh, very dear Marty and Dale, “miles apart but heart to heart. ” I read that in a Hallmark card a long time ago but it is still true. You probably sent it to me. The counted cross stitch you made for me still hangs in my bedroom, a reminder of our Michigan days and our forever friendship. “The road to a friend’s house is always short.” Thank you for keeping it so.

  • Reply Maggie Rowe June 26, 2023 at 4:16 pm

    Jan, my jaw dropped a bit when I read your post just now as I am working on a piece for my own blog tomorrow where I am addressing a difficult topic- mom and dads who have been “canceled” by their own kids. Estrangement because of a parting of ways over beliefs or life choices. The scripture you called out from Gen 21:17 is just what I needed to share with them. Thank you for helping us so that we may in turn comfort others.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg June 26, 2023 at 5:09 pm

      Wow! You’re welcome, dear Maggie. God knows I didn’t have writing a blog on my to-do list today. But, with fear of sounding holier than I am, God nudged me and “said” TODAY. And every now and then I follow through on the spot. Since posting I’ve heard from several on and off the site who said, “just what I needed TODAY.” God knew and knows. But one never knows when or where God will point out a well. However we can be sure it is just when we most need a drink of Living water to quench our thirst or to share with someone even more thirsty from too long a stretch in their wilderness.

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