February 2022 turned out to be a page I was happy to rip from the calendar.


I had injured my back in late January and entered the month hobbling and unable to do much. Just when some improvement arrived I twisted it again chiseling ice off the truck window and faced additional days of ouchiness I mean grouchiness. As the pain finally lessened and enough flexibility returned to enable donning underwear while standing up, I helped out a neighbor in need and found myself on the ice packs and heating pad for several more days.

Shawn and I have operated in close cooperation with the Wright family during these years of COVID. Amanda and family desires to keep us safe as we do them, but despite the precautions Fern contracted Omicron at school and that malady quickly took down August and Daniel. Shawn and I longed to help, but Amanda insisted that we stay away until the storm settled. After days of care-giving Amanda also exhibited symptoms and tested positive. Thankfully all the Wrights have recovered.

Our new heat pump, purchased in December 2020, slacked off in its performance in January 2022 and by early February gave every sign of failure.  The diagnosis revealed a damaged compressor which contributed to our highest-ever electric bill. The investigation revealed improper installation, and though the part is warranted we had to pony up $3K for labor. It has been an intense struggle for me not to jump in the truck and visit in person the original HVAC company which did such a poor job. Thankfully Shawn’s is a voice of reason on those days when I need one, and that’s most of the time it seems.

Did I share that one of our vehicles is demon-possessed? That piece of steel and plastic seems to recognize the opportune moment to pile on with additional adversity. The latest warning message appearing on the dash took multiple trips to the dealer and buckets of shekels for (we hope) the resolution.

February brings about the anniversaries of the deaths of my brothers (21st and 24th), and though I know their whereabouts, the bittersweet memories crush my soul some years. I miss Jeff so much and wonder always if there might have been more I could have done to help Rick in his struggles.

The month ended with communication from Hawaii that Michelle is facing a major health issue with tons of uncertainty at this point. She’s 4790 miles away according the Find My Friend app, and though she is a grown woman she’s still my baby girl. What can I do? Worry? Lie awake late at night? Stumble through the day in a fog? Yes, I’ve done all of those.

Top these gems off with the dearth of leadership at every level of our government and the sense that things are not going well in the USA or in the world, and I was pushing a wheelbarrow-full of gloom on March 1. I found myself feeling depressed, downtrodden, and quite dismayed. 

And then I read Psalm 31. I can tell you from experience, and the words of the Psalm writers prove it true, that refocusing on God is the only certain remedy for months like February 2022. Here’s what I saw in that Psalm. I hope it encourages you as it has me.

In my Bible Psalm 31 has an inscription added by the translators – A Psalm of Complaint and Praise. I checked other Bibles and found additional inscriptions: Into Your Hand I Commit My Spirit, Commitment to God, and A Psalm of David in a Time of Great Need. The shepherd/poet poured out his heart to God and expressed his frustration at being despised, defamed, and persecuted. Sounds like David may have been ready to tear a page from his calendar also, but as he captured the words of this Psalm his focus shifted. His thoughts moved from the adversity to the One who dwells above it all, and David noted several important ideas about God.

Verse 1 – God is my Refuge.

Is there a safer place to be than in His arms? Because Jesus opened the way for me to join the family God accepts me warts and all. He squeezes me close, and He whispers, “I’ve got this! Relax.” As I thought about the practical aspects of a refuge I recalled some words Jesus shared (Luke 12:25 NASB), “And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span?” Changing the circumstances may be outside my reach, but changing my perspective is not.

Verse 3 – God is my Rock and my Fortress.

The refuge we find in God is impenetrable. David possibly considered the walls of a nearby city or perhaps the boulders around him in the wilderness which offered shelter from storms and wind. The elements brought their A-game yet the rock stood firm. Note that in this verse David recalled God’s leading and guiding. When you experience a February 2022 clear, level-headed thinking is crucial and God promises direction and wisdom. Proverbs 3:5-6 and James 1:5 are verses I return to often.

Verse 4 – God is my strength.

I can only travel so far in adversity before the weight of care bogs me down. It reminds me of playing football as a youth. Big Mike ruled the gridiron for years. He ran the ball, often with members of the opposing team hanging from his ankles and waist. He slowed but never stopped…until one season when a couple of us had reached our teens with expanded strength. Big Mike went down time after time. Stopped cold.  Paul knew about weakness and its power to stop our progress. He shared in 2 Corinthians 12:9 encouraging words from Christ, “And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” 

Verse 7 – God knows all about my troubles!

Have you ever joined me in voicing that piercing question, “Doesn’t anyone care?” Louis Armstrong put the issue to music in his famous song Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen. Armstrong grasped the same truth David shared in verse 7. Nobody knows but Jesus. David wrote that God sees our affliction, and God knows our troubles. The questions become, “Can I trust God? Does He know enough and does He have the means to handle this situation? What if He decides to let things play out without a miraculous intervention? What then? Can I trust Him?” Yes, the questions lead back to the same point and that is our faith.

Verse 14 – God is my God.

Stop and consider that the Creator of the universe with His awesome power and endless ToDo list desires to have a relationship with you and me. He wants to hear from us. He wants to speak to us. He wants to fellowship with us even as He did Adam and Eve in the garden before the Fall. Before returning to my desk this afternoon I invested a couple of hours pulling weeds in the sunshine…and talking with God as I worked. What an encouragement to have One so near for fellowship!

Verse 15 – God has an unbreakable plan.

My plans and Jell-O have much in common with all the wiggles and squiggles. I’m constantly tweaking and  re-planning. David recognized that the adversity he faced fell under an eternal plan, God’s plan, and the shepherd penned these words, “My times are in your hand.” That’s heart-encouraging confidence. Nothing in the circumstances had shifted from the previous verse but David recalled a major truth. God’s plan includes our past with all its character shaping experiences, our present with the challenges we live right now, and our future someday in God’s presence forever. The Old Testament character Job who knew suffering firsthand captured the same idea in these words (Job 23:10 NASB), “But He knows the way I take; When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”

Consider these words of encouragement:

The counsel of the LORD stands forever, The plans of His heart from generation to generation.

Psalms 33:11 NASB

O LORD, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; For You have worked wonders, Plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.

Isaiah 25:1 NASB

Verse 19 – God’s goodness is unlimited.

He lavishes goodness on us daily, and yet His supply never reduces. He has more, an unfathomable abundance, in His storehouse. I would challenge you to stop in the middle of your next February-like month and make a list. Count the blessings. Write them down. I noted on a recent below-freezing morning how warm the house felt and with a couple of finger swipes on my smartphone I could see the recently-repaired heat pump is now running efficiently and consuming much less power. Sweet!

Verse 24 – God gives hope.

The word hope is not the same as the one we use in conversation as in “I hope my favorite pew is unoccupied when I get to church.” That may or may not happen. Hope in God implies we have confidence that as He has said so He will do. His Word is filled with promises. Follow these links for additional posts I’ve written on the topic of promises and our confidence in the ones God has made to us.

Don’t Miss The Promises

God Upholds Us

The Value of a Solid Guarantee

And if you’re interested send me a request via the contact form and I will return a free PDF file of a booklet, Appropriate God’s Promises, to your inbox. This resource lists dozens of promises from Scripture organized in twelve groups for easy reading.

David ended his session in Psalm 31 with these words (Psalms 31:24 NASB): “Be strong and let your heart take courage, All you who hope in the LORD.” God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is our hope, and from that hope comes the strength and courage to face February 2022…or any future month which may deliver a heavy dose of adversity.