Micah 6:6-8

"With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?" He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:6-8 NIV)

"What does the Lord require of you?"

There are times when life is overwhelming. I sense it. I know it. I feel it. Even as I say it I can feel the pressure building.

I look at the families out here in our little church on the western side of Houston and I see it all around. The world becomes a very small place when the weightiest of issues hit home. We have many families suffering from unemployment; some have been out of work for months, others for over a year. One member just arrived in Iraq, I see his wife in worship and my heart goes out to her. Another has finished basic training and will be there shortly.

I see people with health concerns, cancer treatments, surgeries, undiagnosed pain. Young mothers making the weekly trips to the hospital for chemotherapy and followup treatments. Children with health troubles.

As we enter the holiday season, I hear people tell me of the mixed feelings that flood them as they interact with family members and deal with painful memories and unresolved feelings. Marriages are ending.

I could fill pages if I just slowed down enough to think deeply even about those few families with whom I am familiar. But you know what I would say because you see it all around you, you see it within you, as well.

So what is God up to in all of this? Is God testing us or toying with us? If it really is true, as the Bible says it is, that God only gives us what we can handle...maybe God trusts us too much? What do we do with all of this? How do we get through it? How do we fill the emptiness that is left when life sucks the best out of us?

Those ancient words from Micah make it sound so simple. Do justice - do the right thing. Love kindness - be kind to yourself and kind to others. Walk - walk, don't run or skip or look for a train out of town. Humbly - honestly, simply, authentically. With your God - for you are never alone. Never, ever alone.

When we take a moment to get quiet....and we hear again the promise that the poor in spirit are blessed, we remember Elijah at his cave, we get honest with ourselves...then the Spirit comes to remind us again that we live in the embrace of a power greater than ourselves. A power that helps us to walk when we can't take another step. Then we know we can do it because we know we aren't doing life on our own. Then we know peace and we do the next right thing.

Let us pray: Gracious Lord, embrace us, support us, encourage us, heal us, guide us, lead us. Guard our steps. Quiet our minds. Still our restless hearts. Carry us when we can no longer walk alone. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Used with permission.