Telephone box

“Do not look forward to the changes and chances of this life in fear; rather look to them with full hope that, as they arise, God, whose you are, will deliver you out of them. He is your Keeper. He has kept you hitherto. Hold fast to his dear hand, and he will lead you safely through all things; and, when you cannot stand, he will bear you in his arms. Do not look forward to what may happen tomorrow. Our Father will either shield you from suffering, or he will give you strength to bear it.” Saint Francis of Sales (1567–1622)

Some years ago my wife and I paid a visit to England to Vera's aged mother. During our stay we undertook a ten-day trip by car to the West Country. We travelled about 1500 km visiting many places we remembered from our youth, and ventured into some new territory. A good deal of our journey was on fast six or eight lane motorways, and some on country lanes so narrow that to meet an oncoming vehicle meant retreat for one or the other.

As we were travelling, one thought struck me particularly. Wherever we went, even in the loneliest places in the country, we would pass a telephone box. On motorways, these are at regular intervals, so at worst there was only a short walk to 'phone for help. In the country, the familiar red telephone boxes or emergency AA or RAC 'phones were to be found in most villages. That is very comforting because it means that no matter where you are, if you do get into trouble, somewhere not far away there is a telephone box from which you can call for help. It means that even in the most remote place, if you have a breakdown or other emergency, you can use one of these 'phones to get help. And you can do it twenty-four hours a day, because there is always someone at the other end who knows exactly how to get help to you quickly.

Throughout the world motoring organisations provide efficient roadside help for their members. But it is not only in the car that we need help. These days our cars are usually so reliable that we rarely need assistance.

Life, however, is not as reliable. Frequently we are faced with problems, large or small, when we need to call for help. It may be to a friend, a relative, or perhaps to a doctor. That sort of help is never far away, thank goodness. But there are times when physical help is not what we need, times when the comfort we seek is spiritual rather than physical. These are the times when we can remember the promise of Jesus when He said, "Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you."

Have a good week. And if you are going through a difficult time remember that promise of Jesus. Close your eyes right now and go to Him who will never leave you.

Ron Clarke JP (Mark 16:15) An e-mail from Kingborough, near Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

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