Daily Devotional for January 24, 2022

Last Wednesday afternoon, I was really feeling bad, so I took a COVID test.  The directions explained if I tested positive, the test strip would show a pink line.  When I looked the test strip, it wasn’t pink.  It was fire engine red with flaming pits of lava falling off the sides.  Sure enough, I was positive.
I don’t know if my case was mild or severe, but if it was mild, I would hate to see what severe feels like.
The really unfortunate part of testing positive for COVID was not the virus, but the fact that I had to call my surgeon’s office to let them know.  This meant my upcoming spine surgery would be postponed.
Me, being me, I wanted to whine and feel sorry for myself, because that’s what I do best.  But, after what I experienced last week, I have no complaints.  Let me explain why.
Tuesday morning, I went to a hospital in Waco to check on a member of our church.  He almost died Monday night.  Due to the quick work of a cardiologist, he was able to return home Tuesday night for his recovery.  Wednesday, when his wife was giving me an update, I mentioned I had tested positive for COVID.  The next thing I knew, he was on the phone saying they were bringing medicine to the front gate to make me better.
Here was a man, who lived over an hour away, who had just gone through a life-threatening experience, who needed to stay home and recover; he was going to bring me medicine.  
I was very humbled and told him if I needed the medicine, I would not hesitate to call.
Then a member of our church called to tell me his wife died.  While this was expected, it was still hard to hear.  When I told him I would not be able to do the funeral because I tested positive for COVID.  Instead of thinking about his own pain, being raised on a farm and knowing what that means, he asked if he could help me at the ranch until I got better. 
Here was a man, who had just lost the love of his life; he wanted to help with moving round bales and making sure my cows were fed.
I was very humbled and told him if I needed his help, I would not hesitate to call.
In Wednesday’s chapel service, prior to testing postive for COVID, I sat on a stool during the meditation.  That’s when I explained I was scheduled for back surgery. The next day, one of the attendees at chapel, called and explained that even though he didn’t know how to drive a tractor, he would come out to our place, figure it out, and feed the cows.
Here was a man who didn’t have a clue how to help, but he was bound and determined he was going to.
I was very humbled and told him if I needed him, I would not hesitate to call.
Wednesday, I called a wonderful man in our church who is now on hospice.  I explained that I could not visit in person because I had tested positive for COVID.  At that point in the conversation, he started asking me about my symptoms, how I was doing, and that he and his wife would be praying for me.
I was very humbled by a man who is close to death, and he is more concerned about me than himself.
As I lay in bed, I realized, God showed me that COVID, the need for spine surgery, and all the other inconveniences of life are just that; they are inconveniences.
In life, we choose which way we face, focus, and respond.  We either focus on ourselves, which is the wrong answer, or we focus on the reason God put us here.  That’s to care for others.
Each of these conversations reminded me of Paul’s instructions to the Christians in Philippi, to look past their own concerns to the concerns of others.
Paul said, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves.  Everyone should look not to his own interests, but rather to the interests of others.”  (Philippians 2:3-4)
I hope that you are in a very good place in life but if you aren’t, know the God of the Universe is with you this very moment.  And when life is overwhelming, know you have a future with love, hope, joy, and peace.  You are not alone.  God has put people in your life who care.  They are more than willing to help.  They want to.  They are called Christians.
Prayer:  Dear Gracious Heavenly God, in those moments when I am only concerned about myself, help me remember my purpose is to care for others.  Guide me to be the caring, compassionate person you created me to be.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.
Trust that no matter what happens, God will bring good out of it.  That’s what God does.  God does it because he loves you.  He’s put people in your life to show his love.
I pray your day is filled with joy and laughter.
Tom Robbins