Sitting here in my garden reflecting, I am often amazed by the difference a day can make. Sometimes for the better and sometimes, having a life changing impact, taking you into situations you never thought you would ever have to face. One minute everything can be going well and the next, you are struggling to keep your world from falling apart.
The week commencing 16th March had a significant impact for the UK. With the recent pandemic and period of lockdown, it is likely that a number of us will find ourselves in unknown territory. We are having to deal with feelings and circumstances that were not part of the plan.
Our children are having to navigate the world of maintaining schoolwork without the structure and support they need and are used to. They are having to cope with the absence of all that comes with being in the school environment. They are missing interaction with friends.
As parents, we experience just a taste of what it is like to be a teacher, trying desperately to motivate, encourage and do what is best for each child. Testing our patience and knowledge of academia. Raiding our stationery supplies and the printer constantly running out of ink and paper!
Employment is taken away, uncertain, or just different. Working from home in a house where everyone is home at the same time does not usually enhance concentration! Finances are disrupted making life difficult, or, for some, impossible to manage. And this, all wrapped up with a whole host of emotions, some unrecognised or out of character.
For many we are in a place we have never been before. There is no easy fix and much is outside of our control.
We’d been married for 4 years when we moved from Kent to the West Country with a baby on the way. After a couple of years, life became a challenge and we found ourselves in serious financial difficulty. It is not a chapter in my life that I would want to repeat but God taught me a great deal through it. He taught me how to be patient (even taking us to the 12th hour – a constant reminder that it’s His time, not mine!). He taught me to rely on Him. He taught me the importance of support and encouragement during difficult times (my natural reaction is to withdraw), and most importantly, perseverance (to never give up). My life experiences have taught me that, although at times it can be really tough, there is often something better waiting for me and I am strengthened through it.
James 1:2-4 The Message
“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colours. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”
There is also the other extreme, where a day can bring the unexpected and give new hope when perhaps you thought there was none.
I was chatting to a friend the other day who was feeling quite low. She has some geese on the yard where she keeps her horses. When she arrived at the yard the following morning, the eggs they had been keeping warm had hatched and there were 6 little yellow goslings waddling around! Not to minimise the anxieties but a new day, and a reminder of something new!
As Christians, we will experience many trials but it’s what we do with them that really matters. Hard as it might be, this is our opportunity to show others the difference that having Jesus can make. Whatever you face in the coming days and months, take hold of it and ask God how he can use you. Ask Him what He can do through you and remember that tomorrow is always a new day!
Matthew 6:33-34 The Message
“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”