Written and Shared by: Chaplain Chris Belfield
A common question I’m asked is where I come up with the subject matter for these weekly encouragements. The answer is they come from God as everyday observations. Usually, I develop the outline by Tuesday or Wednesday. There have been times when on submission day – Thursday – I am still
scratching my head and wondering what will come to light for an encouragement. This past week was extraordinary in that two appropriate titles came to mind. Which was I to choose? This was a conundrum of the right kind. I'll let you decide. The first was "The Frozen Few." The second was "Three Strikes and Still at Bat." Both had a common thread – the bitter cold we have been experiencing for the past week.
Last week I discussed two shots. Those shots being vaccination shots. This time it was three shots. Those being called volleys fired as a salute. The call came for volunteers to perform military honors for a fellow veteran who had passed away. This would be a little different as the honors would be rendered in front of the local funeral home. I cannot say the name as that may be misconstrued as a business endorsement. Sorry, Mr. Cavallin. Eight senior men – I’m using the AARP definition of seniors here – dutifully stood at attention as the rifle volleys were rendered and taps were played. Two U.S. Army Honor Guard soldiers then meticulously performed the flag folding ceremony and presentation to a surviving family member. Oh, yes, the other observation was the cold. It was sunny and -8 degrees. But then there was a strong wind, which made the wind chill approximately -20 degrees. The local Honor Guard members all wore
ceremonial white linen gloves. They were either holding rifles or holding flags with metal poles. The predominant thoughts were on the cold. That is until the music was played and the U.S. flag was folded and presented. What really mattered was that a veteran's service was being remembered, and the family members and friends were also standing outside with us. Cold, what cold? We were the Frozen Few on that morning.
The second occurrence was infinitely more personal and closer to home – literally. It started with an email notifying me that an online funding source had approved my purchases. The problem is that I had not made any purchases nor authorized that service to make any payments. I am now a statistic as a victim of identity theft. Sure enough, my credit card was used to purchase two pro basketball team hats and ship them to Miami. Anyone who knows me knows that I don't particularly care for pro basketball. It took over two days and dozens of emails, and several phone calls to rectify the issue. Not to mention the frustration regarding the whole situation. Strike one. The same day I received a notification from the bank that the service I requested was now available. You guessed it – I never asked the service, and in fact, did not want it. When all was said and done, I had to accept the service because the service I have had for over two years has a monthly fee – though I was never charged. This is because you would expect it as a standard business – not so. Strike two. Not feeling particularly stellar at this point, I needed to go into town. However, the truck had other ideas. Yep, it would not start. Now the battery is a top-of-the-line 5-year model that I had replaced during a bitter cold spell two years ago this month. What is it about February anyway? The short story is that the alternator, much older than the battery, decided this was the time to go to alternator heaven. It was almost with a frozen tear that I watched the truck being towed away for repair. There is something unnatural about watching your truck going backwards down the highway. Strike three. Oh, yes, there was also the official letter from the state department of revenue asking to have a conversation about our taxes…from 2018!
However, I am still the eternal optimist because God knows what is going on and makes the appropriate provision as needed. How you may ask? First, the credit card company will not charge for the fraudulent purchases and is sending a new card. Second, the bank fully understood the miscommunication and extended excellent customer service. Third, AAA arranged to have the truck towed, the local tow truck driver was great to work with, and the local repair shop was able to get the truck in on the same day. So, you see – even after three strikes, we are still up and going. God is good – all the time.
Our encouragement verse for this week is:
Philippians 4:6 (NIV)
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
May you be blessed by God's word. Chris