The Daily News
By Darlene Franklin ~
Do you remember headlines that drove the daily news in 2017? Top local and national stories zeroed in on sex crimes. guns and nuclear weapons, uncertain leadership, mass shootings.
News also recycles at the nursing home where I live: troubled residents, people diagnosed with serious illness, family, deaths.
The news is phrased as prayer requests, cries for someone to care for them, to make the disappointment stop—sometimes repeated word for word, week after week. I struggle to sympathize until I recognize I do the same thing. I rarely feel well, but I always wake up expecting to feel ten years younger.
The media also share good news, but the audience talks more about the scary stuff. Happy news is also celebrated at the nursing home, but it can be hard to come by.
After a sleepless night, I gave passing thought to skipping church. Instead, I went and asked for prayer. “I’m here by faith.” My physical health didn’t improve but my attitude did.
Did my prayer request reflect bad news—bad health? Or good news? God’s peace? Perhaps it wasn’t either/or, but both/and. It depended on how I looked at it.
Last spring, I wrote cheers declaring “My God will fight” to combat my fears when awaiting surgery. Last month, during a heart catheterization. I faced possible heart stints and blood transfusions in perfect peace. (My heart is in the same shape after ten years. A miracle!)
My cousin Jan experienced an early brush with simultaneous loss—her mother’s death and divorce. That time They prepared her for the ordeal when her son almost died from a traffic accident.
Look at presidential elections. Opposite camps battle until the polls close, convinced their candidate is the best for the country. After election night, a good percentage of the population is disappointed with the results.
If I allow myself to be afraid of bad news, I’ll in a constant state of distress. Consider rain storms. Rain falls, creatiing both natural disasters as well providing necessary refreshment. The news, like the rain, is neutral by itself. What varies is how I respond.
When I first started to earn income from writing, I hoped to pay down debt and build a savings account. But it arrived when my car needed repair and after my glasses broke. The good financial news I’d anticipated could have turned into discouragement. Over time, I learned to thank God for providing for unexpected expenses and letting go of my plans.
The incognito author of Psalm 112 says people don’t have be afraid of bad news. That’s good to hear, because it comes our way frequently.
The psalmist isn’t concerned about the news, good or bad. The point is “their hearts are steadfast, trusting the Lord.”
That’s how we can be sure we can withstand daily news: To stand secure in the circle of God’s loving care.