Wednesday, July 20, 2016


Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

If you follow me on social media, you might have read these recent posts:

6/20 – “A broken down car, a clogged drain, and a TV that won't turn on. Not a good combination when I have my 3-year-old granddaughter for a week.”

7/5 – “When you're sick and your TV is broken, what do you do?”

7/11 – “First a broken car, then a broken TV, and now a broken phone. If any of you have been trying to reach me without success, that's why. Try email. For now, my computer is working. Lol.”

I tried to infuse a little humor, but truthfully I didn’t think it was funny at all. Why was everything breaking down?

I was so frustrated, so stressed out, especially about my car situation. I called for help from my brother, my son, my parents, my pastor, my friends and several mechanics. I bought parts, replaced parts, but no part fixed the problem.

I had to cancel the outings I had planned for Layla for the week of the 20th. Instead my time was consumed with making phone calls about my car and becoming more frustrated when I couldn’t even turn on a kids’ show to occupy her while I made the calls because the TV was broken!

When I became sick and housebound a couple weeks later and found myself still staring at a black TV screen, I began to question, Why, Lord, is this happening? I have a broken car, a broken TV, broken plans, and now me.

I had picked up a strange virus and my skin broke out. I spent the 4th of July in the ER (not what I had planned for the 4th), and when I was no better the following week, I couldn’t attend a four-day work-related workshop I had registered for months prior. More broken plans.

Friends lent me their car, and others gave me a TV they weren’t using. I was grateful for their generosity and caring hearts.

Then I made a decision to purchase a “new” car. But when my phone broke during the process of shopping and negotiating, I was at a loss. Now what?

Thanks to Wi-Fi, a computer, and a caring pastor, I found a way to communicate. But it certainly wasn’t convenient. 

I was used to texting and playing games on my phone and found myself instinctively reaching for it throughout the day. But there was nothing I could do to change that black screen, except wait for my replacement that took 30 hours to show up, which I considered a ridiculously long time.

In the waiting, I questioned God again, Why are You allowing all this broken-ness in my life? Is there a lesson in all this?

This time I got my answer. 

“Broken-ness in your life? You are fretting over broken stuff. Stuff that can be replaced. But what about broken lives?”

I saw it on my replacement TV. I read about it on my tablet. Another senseless shooting. Another horrific attack of violence. Police officers. Innocent civilians. More shattered lives. More broken hearts. When will it stop?

Suddenly, I felt ashamed. Here I am griping over material possessions that don’t work when there are far greater problems in this world. Families who have lost loved ones. Others who are worried over whether theirs will come home from work.

I read the hashtags: #blacklivesmatter #whitelivesmatter #bluelivesmatter.

All lives matter!

Those that are injured matter. Those that are grieving matter.


With my hand clasped over my mouth, I stared blankly at breaking news footage. I groaned when I saw the faces of the lost, when I looked into the eyes of the hurting. But what can I do about all this broken-ness, Lord?

In his letter to the Philippians, Apostle Paul wrote, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4).

I had become so self-absorbed, looking only to my own interests—even posting about it on social media.

Oh, Lord, forgive me. What can I do?

Perhaps I can become more like those who reached out to me by giving of their time and resources. Perhaps I can call the local police station, like the gentleman on the news did, to thank them for their service. He also told them to stop by when they were in the neighborhood for a cold glass of water. Or maybe I can be more like my friend Jeff Gagliano, owner of Aire Care Service Co., Inc., who posted the following on social media:

In light of the recent tragedy in Baton Rouge and the recent event in Dallas against police officers, I have directed my employees, including myself, to do the following. For the remainder of July, if you see an active police officer or officers in a fast food place, Wawa, 7-11 or other convenience store or restaurant, and you have the opportunity to do so, I want their tab picked up. Whatever they are getting, coffee, lunch, dinner, I want my guys or myself to pick up their tab and say thank you, simple as that. Bring me the receipt and I will repay them [his employees]. Also, if you are active police, Aire Care Service Company will complete a seasonal service on your HVAC system at no charge for any labor through the remainder of July.

Even if I don’t have the resources to make an offer like Jeff’s, I can at least say thank you. I can use social media in a new way, shifting the focus from myself to the interests of others. I can reach out to thank my Facebook law enforcement friends and others who serve to protect our country.

And the best thing I can do is pray—pray for the families of those slain, for the recovery of those injured, for the safety of those serving, and for peace in our nation and throughout the world.

Won’t you join me?

Dear Father,

Thank You for caring about every detail of our lives (Psalm 37:23b). No concern is too small or too great for You to handle (Luke 1:37). You provide replacements for broken things and restoration for broken people (Psalm 147:3). Your steadfast love never ceases (Lamentations 3:22). We trust You to be faithful in intervening in the matters mentioned. We thank you for using our circumstances to teach us and jolt us into action. And I thank You for using mine to speak to my heart and for giving me examples of how to lovingly minister to those in need.


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