Is God calling you to be a Bridge Builder

How we handle difficulties can encourage others and draw His children closer to Him. Your

Joni Eareckson Tada shares-“God did not take His hands off the wheel of your life for a nanosecond. From start to finish, everything followed God’s plan for you. your trials have much more meaning than you realize. Your problems have more purpose than you can imagine” It could be that what you have experienced will help someone else deal with the challenges they face.”

How we handle difficulties can indeed encourage others and draw His children closer to Him. Your journey can become just the inspiration someone else needs. One of the greatest compliments we can receive is that we are a “Bridge Builder”. That God has gifted us with the ability to be like a bridge when someone gets to what seems like an unpassable place in life. Being the person who helps facilitate a way for the person in need to get across to the other side of the dilemma. When I think about what it means to be a bridge, here are a few things that come to mind.

1) A bridge has to be strong enough to carry the weight of what it is allowing to cross. Therefore, it needs to have a firm foundation. Isaiah 28:16 says,”Therefore thus says the Lord God,
“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone,
A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed.
He who believes in it will not be disturbed.

2) It also has to be trusted by those using it that it is reliable no matter what the circumstance. If you are seen as a bridge, people will know that when they come to you no matter what, you will be there to walk them over their fears, anxieties, uncertainties, etc. 3) Sometimes a person’s burden may be too much for you to bear so the bridge needs more structural support. Make sure, like Moses in Exodus 17,, you have people committed to lifting you up. “Aaron and Hur were with Moses from the beginning and when Moses struggled to keep his hands lifted up, Aaron and Hur provided the support he needed.”

Like the song sung by Simon and Garfunkel back in my day 🙂 being a bridge to someone allows them to

Sail on silver girl
Sail on by
Sail on, sail on, sail on

Your time has come
To shine
All your dreams
Are on their way
Your dreams are on their way
See how they shine

God says our lives can shine even in these uncertain days. filled with Covid19 concerns and, with no doubt, our world is faced with troubled waters. Each of us has a role we can play in allowing God to intervene all of us can experience the peace that “surpasses all human understanding” He promises in Philippians 4. I pray the Lord will make us a bridge so others can find a way over whatever obstacles stand in their way. If being a bridge seems like too much, find someone who is and offer your support as Aaron and Hur did for Moses. That way we will all do our part to help others withstand the burdens that we all face. The result will be God’s kingdom being built up on earth as it is in heaven and strengthening others to do the same. 

Pamela Bunn writes in http://www.astherainandsnow.com, When we fix our identitiy in God, and who He’s called us to be, our lives will be permeated with a serenity of Spirit, even when we are flagging, that draws others to our source of strenght.” What better bridge can be built than one that takes us to the God our Father, who art in heaven.

However you have found this blog, please subscribe so you can receive email notifications when new content is posted. Respond in the comment section or you can email me at michael@mrg7175.com. Be blessed.

How can Suffering create Thankfulness

The theme of this blog post is “Lessons learned in my journey through adversity” I am grateful for how so many of you have shared what this blog has meant to you. It won’t come as a surprise when I say we all face adversity and deal with it in different ways. I thought you might like to read how one of my good friends, Tom Trevillian, is dealing with his wife’s serious health challenges. The following is what he sent me when I asked him, “What does it mean to remain Thankful in all Things?

Did you ever think of “thanking” as a discipline? One could say, “Is it genuine thanking if I have to conjure it up like an appointment to actually thank someone.” “It needs to come from the heart.” How we have learned to have an attitude of gratitude becomes apparent when life takes a turn for the worst. I have been learning what it looks like to have a thankful heart. Can we be joyful in our suffering?  Is this really possible? We know God knew we would experience trials and temptations because His Word spends a lot of time teaching how and why this is possible.  James, the brother of Jesus wrote, “Count it all joy when you encounter various trails.” I found myself asking what does this mean?

My wife of 43 years and best friend had a near fatal brain hemorrhage in January. She has been besieged with pain and suffering are part of the human experience. Most of the time we struggle to find the reason God would allow the event(s) take place. We know trusting that He wants what is best and is with us has to be our focus. One of the Bible’s main subjects is suffering and pain and how to deal with it. James encourages us to be joyful in our suffering. Job learns to accept God’s sovereignty without any explanation. Pain and suffering leave us with a lot of questions but also with our greatest opportunity.

In this opportunity God removes our weaknesses and builds us up. It will humble us, remove self regard and pride. We begin to examine ourselves, seeing our weaknesses. Suffering will turn us toward the more important things in life such as family and faith. Most importantly it should renew and strengthen our relationship with God. John 15 exhorts us like a branch to a vine, If we cling to Him it will strengthen us and create a new and deeper understanding of His faithfulness.

The Bible spends as much time on this as any other subject. Romans 5: 1-5 and James 1:2-4  tells rather bluntly that suffering has its rewards. It both reminds us of the benefits of perseverance: our character. Romans 5:5 says that pain and suffering produces perseverance and character, and then provides hope for life. It produces the wonderful fruit : love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self control.  Without the trials when faced with adversity, true perseverance and character can’t be developed.

As mentioned earlier, it’s impossible to dodge pain and suffering in this life. Gayle almost died that night in the UVA Hospital. Gayle struggled for five weeks to get out of ICU and into rehab. After progressing well in rehab, she suffered  multiple seizures setting her back to her first rehab days, totally dependent on others. These type of setbacks are so hard.

Gayle is my best friend, my soul mate. We were a young 70, married 43 years, with no serious health problems. We had good genes and were thinking we would make it to 90 years old.  Our kids were grown with their own kids. We were enjoying grandkids, traveling and retirement. This was not supposed to happen.  Rising every morning for 40 plus years to read our Bible and pray together I now know prepared us for this time. We are learning the hard way that we have what it takes to face a life of disability. Pain and suffering are a school unto themselves but God continues to remind us of His presence. Both are teaching perseverance and strengthening the character in me, Gayle, and her amazing sister, Pam. Please pray that Gayle. Pam and I will hang in there. Pray I serve her with unconditional love, patience and that as CS Lewis writes, “that I might be Surprised by Joy.” There are great life lessons here. I am learning that, to work through difficult times (persevere), God shows us we can accomplish more than we can ever imagine and our hope must be in Him. There is no doubt, Suffering will give you this opportunity.

Tom and Gayle Trevillian Married and best friends

You can follow Gayle’s continued journey at https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/gayletrevillian I can be reached via email at michael@mrg7175.com

How do I remain Thankful in all Things?

I wrote a while back about having read Jon Gordon’s book, The Garden. It was a short book that I read on Sunday afternoon sitting by the water at Smith Mountain Lake. As mentioned in this podcast, https://www.thebrianbuffinishow.com/the-garden-with-jon-gordon-225/ Jon wrote this parable like story to help folks deal with the fear and anxiety in their lives. The uncertainty in our world today makes the book even more relevant today.

It has been a month since I read The Garden. Little did I know God would use it to once again. Teaching me to remain thankful in all things and remain positive even when what is going on in the world makes me feel otherwise. I was on a Zoom call the other day with some of my oldest and dearest friends. (Side note- 6 months ago, who had even heard of Zoom? 😀) The conversation turned to having an attitude of gratitude and whether it can make a difference. Studies like this one show people that stay positive and optimistic. https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier Studies like this one prove what God has said all along. He wants us to have an abundant life (John 10:10). Psalm 91:2 teaches that even in the midst of trying and difficult times we can say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” In fact, later in the book of John. Jesus says, “He wants His joy to be in each of us so that your joy may be complete.”

I am sure many of you are experiencing your own personal trials and challenges these days. If you have been following along you know my journey through adversity, like what you are facing, has not been easy. We all have to find our own way through it. Here are just a few thoughts on what has helped me.
1) I know that God is with me. As the song, Do it again says, “He has never failed me yet” https://youtu.be/0B_lnQIITxU

2) As Jon Gordon writes in The Garden, I have to fight the distractions of my every day life so that I stay resolved in remaining positive versus succumbing to discouragement.
3) Find ways to be outward focused by serving others. This allows you to break out of just thinking about you and how you wish your circumstances were better.
4) Strive to make every moment matter. Frank Laibach writes, “ Practicing the presence of God is the secret. Paul said “pray without ceasing. In everything make your wants known to God.” As you are led by the Spirit of God you realize you are a child of God“

It is not easy to do. I have recently set up my phone to remind me every 3 hours to “Be Still and know that He is God”. I forget. I get distracted even when I stop to recite The Lord’s Prayer and/or Psalm 23. What I can say is when I do stop and remind myself, my life gains the right perspective and allows me to remain “Thankful in all things”.

My Guillain Barre Syndrome Story can be found at www.caringbridge.org/visit/michaelguthrie You can contact me via email at michael@mrg7175.com

What have you learned from the Covid19 Quarantine?

My Quarantine version of Psalm 23 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
As I navigate the lonely paths of Covid19, The Lord will be my guide and His presence is all I need
Whether I think it is needed or not, I will use this time for rest and quiet reflection.
So that my soul can be refreshed
As He guides me where He wants me to be used bring Glory and honor to His name.
Even though I walk
through the valley of people wearing masks
I will fear no evil,
He gives my faith confidence so that I can go or do wherever He feels the need to send me.
Knowing even in self-isolation you are with me and won’t forsake me.
Like the shepherds’ rod and staff, your Word and the Holy Spirit will teach and comfort me.
Even in the midst of my adversity, You will abundantly provide all that I need so that I will it be afraid.
Like an anointing, You will bless and protect me from whatever evil that wants to prey on me.
You will fill me with your spirit so that cup of love you want me to share overflows.
I count and trust on the contentment of your love for as long as I am to live.
This assurance brings joy knowing that I will be welcomed and will forever dwell in the house that you went and prepared for me.


Quarantine is hard. I started writing this Friday. What happened to TGIF? Hello! Who else finds themselves asking, “What does it matter that is the weekend? It is another day just like yesterday and the day before, and the day before.” I then ask God, “in the midst of all that is going on, how am I to remain, “thankful in all things?”
A friend’s family recently spent a week on the eastern shore of Virginia for what I found out was their annual spiritual retreat. I loved the idea of it yet realized, that is something I have never intentionally done for an extended period of time. The key word I realized was intentionally because my circumstances have now provided two recent seasons of spiritual retreat. Last year, Guillain Barre Syndrome stopped me in my tracks physically. http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/michaelguthrieThis year my Covid19 self-isolation due to my GBS compromised immune system has provided another 5 months of elongated down time for introspection of who I am before God. I read Isaiah 40:31 differently this week. “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.

Notice it says those who WAIT. Webster defines wait this way. “stay where one is or delay action until a particular time or until something else happens” or “a period of time used to indicate that one is eagerly impatient to do something or for something to happen.” I am sure all of us in some way or another are experiencing the angst of waiting. I hear folks say all the time, “if I just knew when this would all be over it would be so much easier to manage”. Yet wait in this verse means something much more. The Barnes bible commentary unpacks it this way. “The word rendered ‘wait upon’ here (from קוה qâvâh), denotes properly to wait, in the sense of expecting. The phrase, ‘to wait on Yahweh,’ means to wait for his help; that is, to trust in him, to put our hope or confidence in him. It is applicable to those who are in circumstances of danger or want, and who look to him for his merciful interposition.“He refers to those who were suffering a long and grievous captivity in Babylon but this phrase is applicable also to all who feel, because of this uncertainty, that they are weak, feeble, guilty, and helpless.” God says wait and trust in Me. Waiting does not mean doing nothing, Barnes continues, “It does not imply inactivity or laziness, it implies merely that our hope of aid and salvation is in him – a feeling that is as consistent with the most strenuous endeavors to secure the object”. “What are you doing while you wait? Will you look back when (please Lord) this is over with a feeling that you used this time of waiting well?

There are so many stories out there of people who have done extraordinary things in periods of time out. Shakespeare wrote King Lear,’ ‘Macbeth’ and ‘Antony and Cleopatra’ as London reeled from the foiled Gunpowder Plot of 1605 and an outbreak of the bubonic plague the following year. Paul wrote the epistles Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon from his Rome prison cell. Isaac Newton discovered gravity during an 18 month quarantine. I recently watched Glenn Lundy http://Www.glennlundy.com interview Joe Buckner who spent time in prison. He shared he had no idea that his journaling during his confinement would turn into 2 books and help him become successful in business.https://yorkathleticsmfg.com/blogs/loversandfighters/beautifully-savage-the-joe-buckner-story

It is up to you. You can succumb to feeling sorry for yourself wishing that things could be different or will you wait on the Lord? When we do, He promises to “lift you up with a renewed strength. Allowing you to soar high on wings like eagles. You will go out ready to serve without growing weary” even if it is from the confines of your home using Zoom, phone or mailed hand written notes. You might even drop curbside pick up things on people’ porches.

Who knows. Maybe you will write a book, a blog people read 😀, or invent the next greatest thing. What I can tell you is just commit to making a difference and your part of the world will be better for it. If you do nothing else, the time you spent waiting on the Lord will have been time well spent. It’s not too late. As in another place in Isaiah, wait and listen for “the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And be willing to say, “Here am I. Send me!”

Please subscribe if you would like to get email updates when new content is posted. You can reach me at michael@mrg7175.com

Loving your neighbor is more important than ever

‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Loving your neighbor while distancing

Social distancing is wreaking havoc on us individually and in how we go about loving our neighbors. We were made to be in relationship so to back up, like a turtle pulls his head into his shell, is so contrary to how God wants us to live. Jesus said in John 10:10 that “he came to give us an abundant life” and later in John 15 encouraged us in this way, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” I don’t know about you who are reading this post, but I can say feeling an “abundance and a joy that is full” is not easy to do these days. I wake up many days thinking, “another day, just like yesterday, and the day before. It is magnified as I see so many people enjoying family vacations and, because of my compromised immune system, we cannot. There is a daily choice to be made. Do I slip down into discouragement or choose to make the day a positive one by finding creative ways to love my neighbors? I have found that having a mindset toward acts of service keeps me from allowing my circumstances to defeat me.

The commandment to Love my neighbor literally means to go out and care for those nearby. This moves the exhortation not just to those who live nearby who may look like us or have the same type of lifestyle, but who come nearby as we move throughout our the day, physically or remotely. As I have shared before, even wearing a mask can be a way that we love someone who comes into our proximity. Bishop Claude Alexander in his sermon, https://livingontheedge.org/coffeebreak/july-2020/ says like the Good Samaritan, we need to be willing to not go around an uncomfortable situation. Instead, be called forward so that we go through and into that place. That way we can get close enough to see, feel, and understand what is happening, why it occurred. Bishop Alexander shares that “Seeing, feeling, and understanding will make us realize we must do something about the situation”

When we are moved to make a difference, what does it look like to love our neighbor? The practical application will look differently for each one of us and that is OK. One thing is for sure though. It starts with us getting out of our own comfort zone and entering into a place where we have never been before or haven’t been motivated to make the time. The first step for the Good Samaritan was to see what had happened. He then felt the person’s pain which made him understand he needed to do something. That something cost him physically, (he walked while the injured one rode on the donkey), financially (he paid for a room and for his care, and his precious time ( he cared for the man and then came back later to see if he was OK. What starts with being open to see and responding to others who have a need or just need encouragement. Here are links to three different ministries that started with people like you and me who got shaken into action. https://charlottesvilleabundantlife.org/ https://movementfoundation.org/ https://peaceprep.com/ I share these to show what amazing things can happen when people make the choice to love their neighbors.

Luke 10;36.37 answers the question, What does it mean to love your neighbor? When the expert in the law answered that the one who had mercy on the person who was robbed, Jesus simply answers, “go and do likewise“. As I thought about this blog post this week, this jumped in to my head. What if our love for each other was as contagious as Covid19? I am guessing your life will be filled with the abundance God promised and you will find yourself full of joy. Let’s go out this week and find out. 🙂

How do we go about being peacemakers these days?

There are more than 100 verses in the Bible that challenge us to be peacemakers. Jesus in Matthew 5:9 teaches, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.” 1 John says “the world will know we are Christians by how we love one another” Romans 12:18 says, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” If possible is where I want to go today in asking, “how do we go about being a peacemaker these days? Romans 14:19 answers the question. “So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.”

It would be so easy to sit back and not engage people but scripture says we need to pursue peace. Webster explains peace as “seeking to attain or accomplish (an end, object, purpose, etc.).” We all need to be encouraged to be those who yearn to make for peace knowing it depends on us to build up versus tear down others. These days this pursuit seems to be harder as there are so many people wanting to find the wrong in what you say or do. It makes you want to turn back toward your place of comfort to lick your wounds with the defeated attitude of “There is nothing I can do to make a difference.” Bishop Claud Alexander https://biologos.org/people/bishop-claude-alexander says just the opposite when talking about Luke 10:25-37 “Even when others cross the street or turn around because they don’t want to engage, we need to be willing to go through Samaria with our purpose being Good Samaritans. There needs to be a commitment to get close enough to a situation allowing us to see what is really going on, learn and understand why it might be happening, and then be willing to be inconvenienced or made uncomfortable. That way, we can then step in to help make a difference”. Living on the Edge ministries https://livingontheedge.org/ teaches, “figure out what you know, how does it make you feel and then, what are you going to do about it” Bishop Alexander drives home the point with, “when we allow ourselves to truly engage we give God the opportunity to shake us into action”

Let there be no doubt that being a peacemaker is hard work. You can engage with all the right reasons and yet be rebuffed by people who misunderstand what you intended. They react because of where they are or have come from while not hearing you correctly because they don’t know your story.

“If we are going to be empowered to do the right thing, we must first come to God asking that He empower us for the desire to do the right thing. (Paul David Tripp paraphrased)” My own personal experience has taught one needs to seek guidance from the Lord. James 3:17,18 says, “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”
A peacemaker is one who takes the time to build relationships 1st. A peacemaker does not rush in thinking they are there to save the day. They are slow to speak when in a place where people don’t know them. They know that social media is not the forum to help people find resolution. A peacemaker is one who people see are sincere, want to help, and are in it for the long haul and your involvement comes with a desire for good.

I have shared in a couple other posts that we need to see that life is a journey. Using the SUV analogy of Chip Ingram, it is more important now than ever to STUDY and learn so we can UNDERSTAND each other. That way, like the Good Samaritan, we can make ourselves VULNERABLE with a desire to serve one another. Proverbs teaches us how to do it well. 1) Pay attention, stay focused on wanting to serve others
2) Listen to those who have been on the journey longer than you.
3) Ask God for strength and wisdom
4) Be determined to do good but have patience
5) Trust God for the outcome.


Will it be worth it? The answer is a definite yes because Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, because they will be seen as the children of God”

Please feel free to subscribe to the blog so you can email notifications when new content is posted. You can contact me in the comment section of the blog site or by email michael@mrg7175.com

Who will stand in the gap?

grand canyon sunset

The definition of the word divide is “a wide divergence between two groups, typically producing tension or hostility.” These days there are so many places we see division; “To wear or not wear a mask”, “how in the world can people be gathering in large groups”, and “aren’t those people lucky they have a cool place to shelter in place” just to name a few. Of course there are much bigger things like “do Black Lives Matter” and what does it mean to “Defund the police” Where we all don’t have the same answer on how to solve the problem. These challenges whether small and petty or large and Important have created divisions even in families and amongst friends for whom we really care about. The question is are the majority of us willing to stand in the gap in these conversations so that love will prevail vs allowing those who espouse hatred to seize control.

Let me take a little poetic license with one verse in The classic song, “what’s love got to do with it”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGpFcHTxjZs As you read the lyrics, Think about engaging with someone who doesn’t think the way you do.

It may seem to you that I’m acting confused
When you’re close to me
If I tend to look dazed I’ve read it someplace
I’ve got cause to be
There’s a name for it
There’s a phrase that fits
But whatever the reason you do it for me

Aren’t we all confused by how people are acting? Haven’t the tensions and yes, hostilities, left you a bit dazed and tired? There are many names for it and a phrases that fit. Here are a few words that might sum it up: discouragement, fatigue, hopelessness, and despair. Along with Phrases such as : you don’t care, you can’t understand, and I can’t trust you all lead up to feeling divided, one against another with a sense that there is no way to bridge the gap. The reason that I can remain thankful in all things in this very different season of adversity is that I have hope that “love can conquer all things” Why? Because Jesus validates it when asked what are the most important commandments?

We are to 1st “love God with all our heart, mind, and soul.” The 2nd is that we are to “love others as God loves us”. If we can figure out the 1st, our personal inward hopes (closer to Christ, relationships, etc.)” we will experience a freedom to do the 2nd an outward expression of loving others in a way that is useful to the Lord, Making it His work not mine. Can it be so simple that if My desire is to Love Him with all my heart, love others as He loves me (even though I often times am unloveable) leads to being released that I can count on the fact that His plan not mine will be the outcome? If so, I can strive to stand in the gap “pressing on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14) The prize these days would be to see divisiveness turned into unity.

Beth Moore exhorts us forward by writing, “True greatness will never come to those who seek to be great. It will come to those who make themselves of no reputation and give their unseen everyday lives, their everyday energies, their everyday faith to serving others amid their own everyday sufferings & unrequited desires.”

1 Corinthians 13 says the 3 most important things in life are Faith, Hope, and Love but the greatest of these is Love. Our faith in each other is wavering which can cause us to lose hope. I began this post with lyrics from a classic Tina Turner song. Let me end it with the chorus of one of my favorite campfire songs by the Youngbloods. Go ahead, take the time to listen to it. 🙂 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRbTvoxRNxM


Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another
Right now

James 3:18 says “Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” If we choose to go out with an intent to love one another, I believe we can cause others to do the same. In doing so, we can in fact stand in the gap shining light in the dark, letting good to defeat evil knowing and regaining the hope that love will conquer hatred.

My Guillain Barre Syndrome story which is what started this blog can be found by visiting www.caringbridge.org/visit/michaelguthrie You can contact me by making a comment here on the blog or by emailing me at michael@mrg7175.com

How are you dealing with the adversity in your life?

Charles Stanley-“For us to accept that God allows–or even sends–afflictions, we must see adversity from His perspective. Is your focus on the pain of your experience or on the Lord and His faithfulness? As believers, we’re assured that no adversity comes our way unless He can use it to achieve His good purposes.” Even Paul faced adversity throughout his ministry which h called “the thorn in my side”

Do we believe what is stated above? People ask, “what did you learn from your bout with Guillain Barre?” The simplest answer is my faith life was tested, found real, and is stronger than ever. I don’t have the wisdom to know exactly how God works, but I Now know from personal experience that the more I submit to him, the more of His power He can entrust to me. When I become less (like not being able to move 😀) and He becomes more, His power is able to move through me (which it literally did) more freely. I would rather have not been paralyzed and in a rehab facility for 2 months. The challenge, however, provided the opportunity for me exercise my belief and trust while relinquishing control of the outcome. He made real what I already believed. That through his power, love, and self-discipline, I don’t need to be afraid because His power is unlimited and like this song shares, unstoppable. https://youtu.be/De6gZZT1690 My only job is to love Him with all my heart, love others as He loves me so His power can flow through me to the world around me.

Little did I know how important these lessons would be a year and a few months later. If navigating Covid19 wasn’t enough, we must now study and learn from each other and humbly seek understanding on the matter of race. I have written in a previous post about our need to Study and Learn from others so that we can understand things from other people’s perspective. We need to make ourselves vulnerable so others can help us with our blind spots. Like Lazarus when he was raised front the dead (John 11) we have things in our life restricting us from the abundant life God want us to live. In verse 44 Jesus said to Lazarus’ friends after he came out with his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.  “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” Who will you allow into your life to help you do the same?

Once you have done your due diligence and allowed God to provide you new insights ask yourself the question my friend George Morris is asking me. “What will you do to make a difference that you have never done before?”

To read more about my bout with Guillain Barre Syndrome go to www.caringbridge.org/visit/michaelguthrie You can email me at michael@mrg7175.com

How could this year be seen as worse than last year

If you have been reading this blog since the fall of 2019 or following my journey through adversity Via www.caringbridge.org/visit/michaelGuthrie, you know that an immune system disorder led to a syndrome called Guillain Barre. It left me unable to move for 17 days and gave me the “opportunity” to be in a rehab facility while I regained my strength allowing me to walk out and go home 43 days later. March-June of 2019 were pretty much lost. So, why would I say 2020 has actually been worse than the same time in 2019?

Dottie and I were struck the other day that we have lost the same 4 months this year because of a completely different type of adversity, Covid19 aka The Coronavirus. I have found myself discouraged and on edge in a way that Is not normal for me. I am sure the pandemic has some you feeling the same. This discouragement and angst oozes itself into all aspects of my life which results in a sadness that has led me to ask why? Dottie’ answers, “It is the uncertainty of not knowing what to expect with Covid19. Your bout w GBS was different. Once we knew you were not going to be put on a ventilator, we had the confidence that although it would take a long time, you would get better. We have no idea where the pandemic is taking us and what will be its long term effects.” I find myself fighting this realization but at the end of the day, she is absolutely right. Whether one wants to say this is not a big deal or that it is being over blown by the media, the fact remains no one knows the long term effects of the Coronavirus be it physical, psychological, or economically.

The second reason for 2020 being worse than 2019 will not come as a surprise to anyone who knows me. It has been the subject matter of several blog posts here. I MISS MY PEOPLE 😀. We are not made to travel this life alone. Jesus knew it and that is why he sent the disciples out in twos. “After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.” ~ Luke 10:1 We need others in our lives to keep us uplifted when it is so easy to fall into despair.

There is also the African proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together” My recovery from Guillain Barre was indeed a group effort. Friends spent the night with me in the hospital and in rehab. People brought us lunch every day. I had so many visitors that Dottie had to, lovingly but fiercely, become the gatekeeper so I would get my rest. I was in a bad way but throughout the ordeal and even after we came home, we had people cheering and encouraging us along the way. 2020 is harder than 2019 because this is a fresh and different kind of adversity. I am sure that many of you are struggling with the pandemic’s “shelter in place” in some of the same ways. GBS without a doubt was the biggest challenge I have faced in my life. The difference this year is I don’t have the people around me as I did last year. Dottie and I are fortunate to have each other but it is tough going through this pretty much by ourselves. Like us, You are tired, lonely, and Frustrated. Asking, “When will this ever end?” You are longing life to get back to normal. I am grateful that Jesus says in Matthew,  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Picked this one because i wish I was at the beach 🙂

Reading through Proverbs in June teaches God want us to wait on Him. Be patient. Trust that He already knows the outcome of the Covid19 story and as this song reminds us, He has never failed us yet. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0B_lnQIITxU When we do Isaiah 40 lifts us up knowing “those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength”. I will look unto the hills, to the One who loves me, for rest in my soul and a renewed strength. How bout you?

Have you found this blog helpful? Please subscribe so that you can get email updates when new material is posted. You can also reach me at michael@mrg7175.com

We are all in need of wisdom these days.

It is vacation season and many of you are packing up to enjoy some much needed time away. Thinking about vacations reminded me that a couple weeks ago I wrote we all need to see we are on a journey together. I used Chip Ingram’s analogy of taking the trip in a SUV metaphorically. To travel through these days well we need to be willing to STUDY and Learn from each other, practice UNDERSTANDING, and make ourselves VULNERABLE so we can be open to hear what others have to say. Last week I shared I have been reading through Proverbs this month. There is such wisdom in these 30 chapters. As I circled and underlined words or phrases that came off the page for me,

I have been struck by the recurring themes on which Solomon focuses. The SUV metaphor certainly works with what I shared with you last week. “Pay attention and Listen well certainly fall under STUDY. Pursue knowledge and Heed Instruction emphasizes Learn from each other. Acknowledging I am not perfect so don’t make others feel like they have to be will give you the VULNERABILITY to be grateful for God’s grace and mercy. The journey will be more enjoyable if we can offer the same to everyone around you us striving to obey the commandment to love the Lord always and love others in the same way. Luke 10:27 ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”

This journey called life will be made better if we allow others to help us strive toward being the best we can be. Try reading one chapter of Proverbs each day during July. Look for these recurring themes that can provide all of us the proper roadmap. Here are some of the directions it tells us to take:
1) Pay attention, stay focused on what’s next.
2) Listen to those who know what’s best for you.
3) Ask God for strength and wisdom
4) Be disciplined but have patience
5) Trust God for the outcome.
As Dabo Swinney says “Remember, there is no I Can’t. Cross the T out and make it I CAN because you Believe!”

Learn more about the adversity that brought this blog to life by visiting www.caringbridge.org/visit/michaelguthrie contact me via email at michael@mrg7175.com