Tending Joy for Monday, March 11

From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; but the people became impatient on the way. The people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we detest this miserable food.”

Numbers 21:4-5

Pray: the newspaper

The troubles of the day loom so large for the Israelites that they forget how bad things were in Egypt. Their amnesic distress is almost comical: “We have no food here, and also the food is awful!” But how often do we do we engage in the same sort of forgetfulness? The troubles of our generation often seem much worse than anything that came before. When we lose touch with our own history, we also miss the ways it can show us how God has accompanied us through trials before.

Today, pray the newspaper, using your journal or a piece of paper. As you go through the newspaper or your favorite news site, list the headlines that are begging for prayer on one side of your journal page or sheet of paper. What struggles seem demoralizing or impossible to overcome? On the other side of your journal page or sheet of paper, list your memories of other headlines that you remember from over the course of your own life. What happened to those headlines, and how did you survive?

After compiling headlines, begin your prayer by thanking God for accompanying you in the past. Then lift today’s concerns to God. Notice how your body feels as you hold the troubles of today while remembering that you made it through those of previous times. Hold onto this prayer for tomorrow.