What a different week – from freezing to almost mild in seven days! The weather has been like a metaphor for our lives since last March! Many have been coping with continuous change since then and it can be tiring. Others have lived with 11 months of severe constraint and restraint – living lives that are smaller than they were before Covid. Whilst others have lived and continue living with increased levels of stress in their work either because of the changed working conditions, increased responsibilities, or difficult family situations. Challenging situations in which we can easily wonder where God’s presence is.
Yet as I have talked to so many of you over the months you have one thing in common – You are all still standing! Trusting in the unchanging love that our Father God has for us. He doesn’t just call His children (1 John 3:1) – He makes us His children (Ephesians 1:5) and then gives us the Holy Spirit so we can know we are His children (Galatians 4:6). It takes faith to live in this truth.
In Isaiah 49 God promises to bring his people out of a place of captivity and darkness and to comfort them so that they will shout for joy. In the same passage Isaiah asks the rhetorical question “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! …. See I have engraved you on the palm of my hands“. Whatever our lockdown situation and however we may feel, God has not forgotten us – He has a picture of each of us on the palm of His hands and He will release us into a place of joy.
Pippa Coghlan sent me this poem a few days ago which sums up that place between truth and feelings where we stand and exercise faith.
It’s cold and grey, but He calls my name
It’s a winter day, but He’s still my flame……
We’re in lockdown still, but He’s here with me
There’s no holidays, but at least I’m free.
My dog is muddy, but she loves to run
God calls my name, shows me life is fun.
I can grump and groan, but He still loves me…
And He gives me flowers, and skies and sea.
Thank you Father, You are still with me
Help me feel your love, let me know I’m free
Because You’re the best, You’re the one who cares
You’re my Heavenly Father and you hear my prayers.
I have heard similar thoughts from many of you. Thinking about the FCC family earlier in the week, I sensed a resounding “Well done!” from heaven to you all. You have and continue to “keep the faith”. Despite our scatteredness you have and continue to support one another. Despite being locked down you have and continue to reach out to those around you, as incarnations of the Father’s love. And heaven says, “Well done”!
Facing ongoing constant change, no matter how we feel, may we all live by faith, trusting and experiencing the truth of God’s promise in Isaiah 41 “I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” May God be near you and bless you as you continue to faithfully walk with Him.