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KEEPING THE FAITH | Finding the strength to maintain hope in these days

Our own strength is not always enough to get through some of the situations that this life brings. Prayer is the communication gift God gives us to connect with Him.
The Rev. Lewis W. Macklin

In midst of this relentless pandemic, do not lose hope. God will give us the strength to meet the challenges of the times, just as Moses shared in Deuteronomy 33:25 to encourage the tribe of Asher noting “and as thy days, so shall thy strength be,” per the King James translation.

We shall obtain strength through the promises of God. Isaiah 41:10 “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” 

However, we also obtain strength through prayer to God. Our own strength is not always enough to get through some of the situations that this life brings. Prayer is the communication gift God gives us to connect with Him. God is always here for us, to give us strength and lift our hearts when all seems hopeless.

We also garner strength in our praise toward God. Psalms 71:14. 16, “But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more. I will go in the strength of the Lord God: I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only.” We gain strength by elevating God above our circumstances. Praise encourages a positive attitude and can lift our spirits

God knows the limits of our own strength. To be clear, opposition and oppression can wear you down. But God not only equips us, He is aware of our much we can endure. He is aware of when we are exhausted, frustrated, discouraged and ready to give up. 

Yet, He cares enough to compensate for our weakness. Psalms 27:14 directs us to “Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.” Isaiah 40:31 serves as a reminder not to give up, “But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.  They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”

There is nothing new under the sun. Therefore we enjoy the power of this truth: God is greater than a pandemic! 

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. I stand in awe of the brave women, and yes, men, who have experienced breast cancer. Many continue to share their journey with others to provide needed help and hope. Truly you are overcomers by the very words of your testimonies. This article is dedicated to those who have displayed they are more than conquers. 

Your strength and endurance remain a powerful witness and testament to keep the good fight of faith. 

I am thankful to the honorable Jamael Tito Brown, mayor of the city of Youngtown for demonstratively championing health and wellness within our community.  As a tireless advocate, he challenges the community to reduce infant mortality and promotes men’s health care by supporting prostate cancer awareness efforts.  His support of October’s Breast Cancer Awareness is evident in his active involvement in The Real Men Wear Pink campaign that he uses every opportunity to promote.  

Community Resource: The Mahoning Valley is blessed to have embedded within the community the Joanie Abdu Comprehensive Breast Care Center which is part of the ministry of Mercy Health. The center, as envisioned by Dr. Rashid Abdu to honor the memory of his wife who died of breast cancer, delivers the most accurate prevention, early detection, diagnosis and support services available in a single location — and renders compassionate and coordinated care. The free-standing facility also provides community education and outreach with its “Joanie On the Go” a mobile unit that brings state-of-the-art mammography services into the community. 

Community Relief: We can help families, especially in the midst of this current pandemic. A & C Friendship Tours is recognizing Breast Cancer Awareness Month with a drive-in/ drop-off food drive to benefit Protestant Family Services during the upcoming holiday and winter seasons. The contact-free project will occur on two successive Saturdays, Oct. 24 and 31, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the DMHD Family Practice, 1320 Belmont Ave, Suite 2. They will accept nonperishables, canned goods and monetary donations. For more information contact Cynthia Davis Taylor at 330-746-0607 

Community Response:  

Dear Lord, 

Give those that are fighting cancer in any form, as well as those in the battle with them, the strength and the will to carry on. Comfort, protect and provide their every need. We ask for Your healing over every part of their lives – physically, emotionally, mentally, financially and spiritually. 

We ask that You would make them strong and resilient each day. We bring to You the spaces and places in our lives that are hurting. You see where no one else is able to fully see or understand. You know the pain that has been  carried. The burdens. The cares. We ask for Your healing and grace to cover every broken place. Every wound. Every heartache. 

Thank you that You remain able to do far more than we could ever imagine. Thank you for Your Mighty Power that acts on behalf of your children. Thank You for restoring and redeeming every place of difficulty, every battle, all for Your glory. 

May we trust you and the process, while always maintaining a greater hope and keeping the faith. Amen.   

The Rev. Lewis W. Macklin II serves as the lead pastor of Holy Trinity Missionary Baptist Church, chaplain for the Youngstown Police Department and local coordinator for the African American Male Wellness Walk of the Mahoning Valley. He resides in Youngstown with Dorothy, his partner in marriage and ministry. They share the love and joy of 6 children and 7 grandchildren.

— All biblical citations are New Living Translation unless noted otherwise