A couple of weeks ago I wrote the post below. I would like to dedicate this post and specially the song at the end to my dear sister in Christ, Belle. I have never witnessed the spirit of Christ more alive than I have witnessed in this person, but with that privilege comes suffering beyond human understanding. Please pray for my sister in Christ.
Be blessed my friend!
Please look at the pictures on the link below before reading this post, which show some beautiful scenes in the British landscape unheard of for this time of the year.
The last three days have displayed wonderful vestiges of glorious mid-summer sun, warmth and brightness here in the South East of England. Amazing blessing not to be taken for granted, as we are about to enter the autumnal month of October known here for its relentless cold temperatures and unsettled weather. It is a very welcome sight indeed to see people with beaming smiles and a demeanour which oozes hope and ease.
And yet in contrast with such delight, I find myself struggling with the idea that behind the wonders of the weather and the apparent contentment all around, the picture that lurks behind not only in my own life but in that of most, is somewhat a sharp contrast by comparison. We try to cling desperately to the idea that just because the weather encourages a happy mood, one is to live in such a state of endless hope and optimism as if our daily troubles and worries had nothing to do with us. Maybe that is exactly it: for many of us such troubles and worries unless intricately connected to us and ultimately an influencing factor in the course of our life, truly have nothing to do with us and so we just keep pressing on as if the pain and the hurt we witness within and all around was taking place in a different reality far far away from us. The human mind is truly fascinating!
The wonderful weather has meant I have been walking a fair amount recently, specially to and from my son’s school. I normally take the scenic route which runs alongside a beautiful field parallel to the main road where the ongoing traffic keeps coming like arrows across the battlefields of old. This morning I couldn’t help but notice the striking and startling contrast of two realities which do not often, at least in the world I am familiar with, coexist. On the one hand one could see the promise of scorching temperatures to arrive later in the day given away by the vague pink line in the horizon, just above the trees. Sun on my face, already too hot to have my cardigan on. And yet as my senses processed that information, I couldn’t help but also notice simultaneously the hundreds of brown leaves already on the ground as one would expect for this time of the year. Not a scene one often witnesses in this part of the world on the last day of September.
And so as I continued walking I realised that this very picture pretty much reflects my existence right now, an existence which not long ago was uni-lateral, balanced, peaceful, predictable, harmonious, purposeful though misguided and misunderstood by myself as much as by anyone else. My faith was strong but weak, my trust in God unquestionable but also only slightly put to the test. Truly my pride and not God was my tower of strength. Discerning but blind in the things that truly mattered to my Godly purpose. I lived convinced I was relying on God with my every breath, my every decision, my every pursuit, and yet I was living an illusion as what I thought was fiery furnace of testing and refining, was merely a 30 second spin in the microwave, and just as microwaved food the end result lacked depth and catalytic transformation within.
BUT, today my reality is full of contradiction like the high “summer” temperatures coexisting with the autumnal leaves in the Southeastern fields of England. The woman whose house was immaculate enough to feed off the floor and to entertain kings and queens, no longer has the ability to take pride in her home because she cleans as and when she is able to. A thriving new business, a battle with the local authority to win a statement of special needs for our son, and the recurring debilitating pain on my neck and back which every now and then has me bed-ridden for hours have meant that time is no longer my own and chaos, surprise and spontaneity are the distinctive factors of my existence right now. Before I could choose when to have guests who could marvel at my standards of cleanliness. Now due to the nature of our business, I have endless numbers of professionals entering my home, who often arrive unannounced and who often find my home upside down, inside out, and who find me, well.., let’s just say, little dignity and pride remain once they have gone. Before I was a control-freak, a perfectionist, a people pleaser. Now, not by personal choice, but because God gives us what we need and often not what we pray for, I am a wreck but a joyful wreck who lives each day challenged by what life may throw at me and knowing deep down whatever comes no matter how much I resist it or try to control it and its outcome, the point of the exercise is to learn to ride with it, to not oppose it or postpone it, to simply look up, take God’s hand and off we go again on the next most exhilarating, but often most stressful and anxiety filled ride of your life, but a ride that has a heavenly purpose, a ride which seeks to not leave you as you are on your way to self-destruction, on your way to seeking after the things of this world which will deteriorate over time, just as we will, things of little lasting value which puff us up with feelings of superiority, accomplishment, vanity and pride, but a ride which seeks to teach you to let go and let God, to teach you to truly get on your knees not to ask for what you want, but to seek revelation as to why things are the way they are and then knowing their meaning to plead with God to give you the grace to enter into them willingly and to blindly trust and accept wholeheartedly that though you cannot really see where you are going, you cannot get there unless the chaos, the pain, the surprise and the spontaneity elements are an essential part of that journey.
And yet, despite all this I find myself experiencing a new all-encompassing, all-embracing, all-liberating and all-energising grace from God where I no longer beat myself up if I don’t make time to pray and read scripture everyday, if I don’t find time everyday to take others’ needs on board but my own and those of my family, if I act in anger, fear or selfishness as the chaos that surrounds me exorcises the control-freak nature within me. The external chaos forces me to make peace the sap within that keeps me alive, and the ongoing darts of fire that keep hitting me are making my resilience and determination to pursue God bullet proof, unbreakable. And through it all sometimes up right, close and personal, and sometimes distant and aloof for days on end I sense the presence of God in my life leading me on towards a goal, towards a place where one day it will all make sense, it will all be revealed as gold refined and purified in this most arduous and challenging of journeys called life.
I find this passage in scripture to be a rock on which I lean and rest my weary body, mind and soul often. May it give you hope and strength today and always:
2 Corinthians 4
1 Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”[a]made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 12So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.”[b] Since we have that same spirit of[c] faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.