Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Helping others!

All photos courtesy of Unsplash 

Everyone needs an uplift especially when things in life seem to be going wrong.  During the American Civil War Abraham Lincoln the President had many decisions to make and a lot of issues to deal with. There came a time when things were not going well for the Northern cause and many people were turning up at the White House with complaints or to give the leader every sort of advice on how he should act.  The pressure and stress upon the President was enormous.

One day a friend came to the White House named Billy Brown. He had grown up with Abraham Lincoln in Springfield, Illinois.  He approached  the entrance and was stopped by an aide who enquired whether he had an appointment to see the President.  In those more informal days Billy said that he had no appointment and that he didn’t actually need one as the President would be happy to see him without a previous arrangement.  The aide looked somewhat dubious but went in to the President and said that a Billy Brown was outside.  In about two minutes the aide returned and immediately behind him was President Abraham Lincoln.  He was so pleased to see his old friend and clasped his hand. Billy was then invited to stay for evening meal with the President and his wife Mary.

All photos courtesy of Unsplash

After the meal the two men sat down and the President asked about Springfield.  Billy told him everything he could remember such as weddings, funerals, new buildings and all the goings on in that small town in the mid west.  Funny stories of what people had done or said were recounted and at times the President laughed loudly and sometimes seemed unable to stop laughing. For Billy this seemed to be such a good thing as the President did not look wonderfully well because he was thin and his face was drawn and to some extent grey.  

The pressure of office and the strain of war were taking their toll on a President who was conscientious and hard working but who had to take many important decisions. 

As Billy eventually decided to leave the President invited him to stay the night but Billy declined as he did not want to impose.  As he was leaving the President asked him why he had come.  The reply was that it was to see his old friend.  That surprised the President as most people called to ask for favours, to gain support for some project, to secure funds but Billy had come just to show friendship.  Lincoln recalled that at times he felt so lonely as too often the major decisions were his alone to make.  He thanked Billy with tears coming to his eyes.  Their time together had made him homesick for Springfield and it was, for him, a light in a dark time of war.  A war that seemed to be never ending and his decisions affected families with young men going into battle and mothers and fathers worrying over their sons.  Many of them dying and the weeping Lincoln knew the sorrowful feelings that would be going on in many homes.

Can we be a light in someone’s dark world today?  We never know what people are experiencing.  Some are depressed but never show it.  Some have a drink problem because of some tension and stress they have had to endure.  Others face surgery or are trying to cope with bereavement.  Some are estranged from family and loved ones.  Let us be slow to judge others, slow to criticise and swift to encourage, to show compassion and to give uplift to others.  This is to walk in the way of Christ and as we would want strengthening in our time of need, let us bring this blessing to others.  

Written by PAUL YOUNG 

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