July 16, 2020
Volume 24, Number 24
No one has ever accused me of being a roller coaster aficionado. On my two or three trips to Disney World I have been persuaded by my children to ride Space Mountain. I can do that roller coaster because it’s all in the dark (with stars and planets scattered throughout). I don’t have to deal with the sight of a deep plunge up ahead.
One thing my kids tease me about is my vocal response while riding Space Mountain. No, I don’t scream as most people do; instead, I laugh loudly (and perhaps a bit maniacally). Don’t ask me why I do it; it’s just my coping mechanism, I suppose.
In Japan a couple of executives have come up with a new approach to riding the roller coaster in their theme park. Instead of screaming and spewing COVID-19 virus droplets in the air, they have filmed themselves riding the roller coaster in an almost stoic manner. At the end of the video there is this caption: “Scream inside your heart.” An official with the amusement park said people are now riding silently.
There’s something about that slogan, “Scream inside your heart”, that resonates with many of us. It doesn’t take a roller coaster to cause stress, a claim to which we can all testify based on these past few months. People around us may not hear moans or yells from our mouths, but inside our hearts there is much bottled-up despair.
Naomi was one who had great anguish in her heart. As she returned to her hometown of Bethlehem she was greeted by friends who hadn’t seen her for a few years. Her response strikes us as odd: “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me” (Ruth 1:20). The Hebrew name “Naomi” means “pleasant”, and this woman who had lost her husband and both sons was crying out from her heart.
As the book of Ruth proceeds, however, God’s presence and blessings become very obvious. By the end of the book Naomi has a son-in-law who will provide for her, and she has a new grandson to help raise. Her neighbors noted the change in her circumstances: “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a redeemer” (Ruth 4:14). Among her notable descendants was great-grandson King David.
What help do we have when we scream inside our hearts? Here’s what Scripture teaches us: “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Romans 8:26). Though I may not be able to verbalize what I’m feeling, the Spirit knows my heart; He hears the screams that are silent to all around me.
Peter gives this encouragement: “Casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). What a blessing it is to serve One who knows my heart!
Come to the light God offers! Study His word, the Bible. Worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss these ideas further.
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Copyright, 2020, Timothy D. Hall. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version (Copyright, 1990, Thomas Nelson, Inc.).
“LightGrams” is produced by the Central Church of Christ, 2722 Oakland Avenue, Johnson City, Tennessee, 37601, and is written by Tim Hall, minister. It is sent free of charge every Thursday to all who request it. To subscribe or to receive more information, write to “Tim@GraceMine.org” (our E-mail address), to the U.S. mail address above, or call (423) 282-1571.
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