EDITOR’S NOTE: Jill Price Clark is a good friend of mine. Her husband, Kent, preached at Wolf Creek church of Christ near Malta, OH for a few years, and that’s where we met. Since then, Kent moved to Charleston, WV, and worked with a faithful group there until his health became such that they moved back to Jill’s hometown of Paden City. There, both Jill and Kent assemble with the brethren and do all they can for the Lord’s cause. Recently, Jill wrote the following paragraph and posted it to FaceBook. With her permission, I am reprinting it and using it as a basis for this week’s THOUGHTS WORTH THINKING.
“No more anger. Not me. It is now a profound sadness. I wish I could understand it all. I do know that life is about much more than the United States of America. I've been guilty of giving the current condition of our country much more importance in my life than I should. I've been way too politically vocal and argumentative. I'm going to do my best to step away from all that. There are so many other issues in life that deserve and require my attention. I have control of nothing but myself... and we all know that's a monumental task! I need to focus on that. So, here's to shutting out the external chaos so I can work on the internal chaos. I love you all. Goodnight.”
Jill Price Clark
Paden City, WV
I’m Able to Sleep Nights!
Without question, this past week was one of the most horrific, embarrassing, vicious, mudslinging, foul-mouthed, hateful, angry, and unsettling weeks of United States of America history! If it proved nothing else, it proved the United States of America is NOT united socially, culturally, and certainly not politically. It proved adults often act like spoiled children, are not afraid to speak evil of dignities (Jude 8), and have no respect for property owned by all taxpayers. It proved jealousy is rampant, while humility is virtually non-existent. It proved hatred is often stronger than love and compassion; that opinion is often stronger than facts. Yet, despite all this, I’m able to sleep nights!
Jill Clark’s article appeared Thursday, January 7, 2021, with her FaceBook post. It impressed me as I realized she and Kent continue to endure a magnitude of problems from 2020, not the least of which are very serious health issues. Like all citizens of this great nation (and it is still great!) they have every right to express their concerns, their fears, their objections. But Jill expresses another option: consider your soul!
Throughout the record of Israel’s journeys from Egypt to Canaan, to their crossing Jordan, to their self-inflicted chaos with the nations round about them, we note God never forsook His faithful ones! There was always someone with enough faith in God to be able to sleep nights in the comfort of God’s protection! The lessons of old for our learning (Romans 15:4) are more than lessons of God’s wrath upon disobedience: there are lessons of God’s comforts and protections upon those who refused to have the pathway of their lives directed by evil events. They CHOSE to serve God regardless of the consequences to their physical wellbeing. They focused on the inner man – the soul that would give account to the God of heaven! (2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Peter 4:5; Romans 14:12).
For most of us, the best we can do regarding the present distress is to pray. But if the hearts of those who pray are not right with God, then what obligation has God to answer us with favor? Therefore, the most important thing is for us to take care of the inner man – fix that “chaos” before trying to fix something else. That’s precisely what Matthew 7: 1 – 5 requires. It’s quite easy to see the faults of others. No righteous person can condone evil of any description! (Romans 12:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:22) Neither can a righteous person correct any error without first conducting a thorough examination of “self” (2 Corinthians 13:5). Once that is completed, the righteous soul may well note he/she’s done all that is possible: they can’t do much for the unrepenting, so we can but pillow our heads and thank God that through His guidance and the love of His Son (1 John 1:5 – 10) we have nonetheless done what we can for our souls and can sleep!
As a Christian, I must remember I only live physically in these United States of America: my citizenship is with God in heaven! Yes, I love this country and the freedoms we have – and I continue to attribute these freedoms to the generosity of God the Father! However, I’m also keenly aware that as God did with Israel when His blessings were taken for granted and abused, those blessings can be just as quickly removed from us! Therefore, I must have my inner man – my soul – right with God! I owe Him more than I owe this or any country of the earth.
As a Christian, my conduct is the best example I can give to others, and therefore the best hope I can offer these United States. Regardless of whether others follow God as God has directed, it is my responsibility to follow Him! And if I do so carefully, I can not only save myself but them that hear me (1 Timothy 4:12 – 16). With that knowledge, I can sleep nights in perfect comfort with God!