Praise God in all cir­cum­stances

The Covington News - - RELIGION - JAN MCCOY COLUM­NIST

What’s the ear­li­est time in your life you can re­mem­ber? I will ad­mit that, as I get older, I can’t re­mem­ber what I had for break­fast most days. But, some of those ear­li­est mem­o­ries are ones that I will never for­get.

I re­mem­ber stand­ing up and singing “Je­sus Loves Me” in front of a group of peo­ple gath­ered in church when I was very young. I re­mem­ber im­ages of John F. Kennedy and Wal­ter Cronkite from tele­vi­sion. I re­mem­ber the smell of my grand­mother’s old-fash­ioned tea­cakes, and the sweet hon­ey­suckle smell of sum­mer cap­tured in her hand lo­tion. And I re­mem­ber the feel­ing of be­ing loved and pro­tected by my fam­ily.

Isn’t it amaz­ing that our senses bring some of the strong­est mem­o­ries to mind? When I smell hon­ey­suckle at the be­gin­ning of sum­mer, I re­mem­ber my grand­mother and how much she loved me. When I hear “Je­sus Loves Me” played or sung, I re­mem­ber the ear­li­est days of feel­ing loved by my fam­ily and God.

When I go to visit peo­ple who have de­gen­er­a­tive dis­eases that steal their mem­o­ries and leave them some­how grop­ing for names and even the most re­cent events, I am amazed that they can sing “Je­sus Loves Me,” and they sing those words with me. Those words are in­grained in the fibers of their be­ing, be­cause they are words of the most ba­sic Chris­tian child­like be­lief that one can have.

The Psalmist re­minds us to take refuge in the Lord be­cause it is the Lord who sees us from the very be­gin­ning of our ex­is­tence un­til we reach God’s eter­nal pres­ence af­ter this life is over. We can put our hope and trust in the Lord be­cause God has loved us longer than any­one else, in­clud­ing our par­ents. God loved us even be­fore we could re­spond to God’s love. John Wes­ley called that “Pre­ve­nient Grace” — the grace that comes be­fore we have knowl­edge of any­thing.

God loves us even be­fore we can re­spond to God, and when we ex­press our love for God, it is be­cause we are re­spond­ing to the over­whelm­ing love God al­ready has shown to us. When we praise God con­tin­u­ally re­gard­less of our cir­cum­stances, we will con­tinue to praise God from the fibers of our be­ing, even when the gray cells of our brains be­gin to fail.

Are you prais­ing God con­tin­u­ally re­gard­less of your cir­cum­stances?

Rev. Jan McCoy is the as­so­ciate pas­tor of Cov­ing­ton First United Methodist Church in down­town Cov­ing­ton. She may be reached at jan.mccoy@ ngumc.net.

7 p.m.; High Point Bap­tist Church, 12025 Ga. High­way 36, fea­tur­ing The Old Path Quar­tet, ev­ery­one wel­come; L.S. Sewell, 770-787-9522 or lasewell@ya­hoo.com.

Aug. 24.

Red Oak UMC Bar­be­cue and Stew

11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Red Oak United Methodist Church, 15105 Ga. High­way 36 next to FFA Camp; 770-787-0404; eat in or

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