What a week of wet and cold it has been. One of the spinoffs of my not too distant surgery is that I feel cold a lot of the time. In fact, because I am a bit of a foolish man I have expected recovery from a double hip replacement to be a routine thing that I would get over fairly quickly. Ahhhhh! Foolish, foolish man. I have been really struggling, physically and emotionally. I have never felt this depleted before.
What do you do when you are really struggling? Does your faith have a part to play? What role do other people serve?
Here is what I find myself doing. I start by having a big sook. Then I hope other people [mostly those closest to me] will be super kind and loving. But I often don’t clearly communicate my situation or what I need; I just sook and expect them to intuitively know my unstated wants and needs. I then get resentful when they don’t deliver – pathetic, right!?
Anyway, there is the confession. I’m not much fun to live with some of the time.
After I ‘get over myself’, I usually get more constructive. I often share how I’m feeling in prayer at our in-church prayer times. For others, it can be good to state things and God is a good listener. Others just need to do that ‘on the inside’.
Then I remind myself that in this situation God is not dead. He is good all the time, he is with me and he does care. If I am feeling especially pious, I can even remind myself that struggle is always the place of strengthening and growth.
Then I go to the bible to read what the word of God actually says. Today I wondered what ‘faith’ really means. What have I put my faith in? It’s not my feelings that will carry me on. The bible constantly tells me that our ‘faith’ sustains us. So, I’d better know what my faith is in, right?
The beginning of Romans was useful today (Romans 1:1,2). It says, “Paul, a servant…”, Ok, I’m a servant; “called…”, I cannot be forgotten if I am called; “for the gospel of God…”, God is and has delivered good news. What is the good news I am part of? Well, we are told it is woven through the whole bible from beginning to end. It concerns his Son, who was declared to be Son of God with power. If I truly believe this, it is the “Spirit of holiness” who has revealed it to me. And it is sealed for good, or proven once for all “by resurrection from the dead of Jesus Christ our Lord”.
That is my foundation. I am only as good as my foundation. Foolish though I can be, I try and find my way back to bedrock – “This one thing I have!”
This is what Kieran and Ruth will be doing as they prepare to shift their whole life over here. It is what James and Jane must do as they take on the risks they are confronting in their service and call to build a new thing in Palmyra. It is what every Christian disciple of Jesus is called to do – secure their life in the One who is faithful, whatever may be happening in the here and now.
I just need to thank so many of you for your words and expressions of support during this time. They have meant a great deal and have been used by God to bring strength and encouragement. We all need them. Thank you.