Faithfully yours - Quiet times allow us to look four ways

Contrary to what my mother told me, an idle mind isn’t always the devil’s workshop. As I get older, I am learning to value the quiet times; the times when I can be alone and free from outside interruptions. Those are the times when I reflect on life, remember those who are in need and offer prayers to God for them, for my family and for myself.
For me, those times come most frequently when I’m alone in a vehicle on a long road trip. The radio is turned off—there’s not much on radio that interests me any more. So, the only noise I hear is made by the tires on the pavement and the wind whistling past my window. I am free to take in the beauty of the world around me; to appreciate the wide variety of crops grown in this part of the country; to note the work being done to improve the conditions of our highways and to see how many new buildings are under construction. There is always something new to see, to appreciate and for which to give thanks to God; and I do just that.
Quiet times allow us to look four ways—back at the past, ahead to the future, around us to see the need of others and up to God.
When we look back, we see how God used different people and experiences to bring us to where we are today. We remember the times he helped us turn failure into success and how he brought people into our lives who would love, accept and forgive us and show us how to do the same for others. We recall how he met our needs—one day at a time, from birth to today; and we are reminded that God has been faithful to us even though we have not always been faithful to him.
When we look ahead, we can do so with confidence and optimism. We may not know what the future holds, but we can be sure of this the God who walked with us in the past and who walks with us today has promised that he will never leave us or forsake us. He will remain with us from now until the day we die—doing for us tomorrow what he did yesterday and what he is doing today. Of that, we can be absolutely certain.
When we look around us, we see hurting and needy people. If we look around long enough, we will see far more hurts than we can heal and far more needs than we can meet. But we will feel drawn to a few of the people we see. These are the ones that God is asking us to help and we need to be ready to do what we can to heal their hurts and meet their needs. As for the rest, we pray for them and believe that God will bring others into their lives to help them.
Finally, when we look up, we are reminded that God is never far away. As people of faith, we believe and confess that “we are never alone…in life, in death and in life beyond death, God is with us.” When looking back causes too much pain (at times, it will), when looking around leaves us dazed and confused, when looking ahead fills us with fear, we can always look up; and when we do, we will see God—in full control, ready to help all who seek his assistance.