'Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.' Hebrews 13 v 8
Have you ever been so overwhelmed by a situation and then called a friend, only to have them remind you of all the ways God has been faithful to you in the past in order to encourage you?
It is bonfire night as I sit writing this blog and as you would expect I can hear many fireworks exploding outside. There are whizzes, pops and bangs every second and it is tempting to get up and look out of the window to survey the colours and patterns being displayed against the night sky. Every year I always try to attend at least one firework display or as a family we let some off in the garden and the event gives us something to look forward to as the nights draw in. 'Remember remember the 5th of November' is one of those familiar rhymes that I learnt in school. Indeed, it seems that we will all remember this 5th of November for very different reasons in the years to come as we begin a second national lockdown due to the current pandemic.
Life has felt overwhelming for many people recently. I know people who have lost their jobs and are struggling to find another. Others are stressed out as work has become more demanding and they feel unable to leave. Friends have reported increased anxiety and uncertainty. As I have conversed with acquaintances going through difficult situations, I have felt the current pandemic has given everyday life events an extra level of challenge. The lockdown with its restrictions and guidelines make any attempts to solve problems or deal with the emotional fallout of what is being experienced feel almost impossible. It can be tempting, can't it, to join in with the world and complain, fear, be discouraged, or to rebel?
This year God has been challenging me to remember all of the times that he has been good and faithful in my life so far. Each day I have been writing down a few things that God has done throughout my life, building a comprehensive picture of the blessings of my relationship with God. I have been overwhelmed. One morning it struck me that our God is so good, faithful and powerful that there are not enough words to describe him! As I recalled how many times he has provided tailor made answers, delivered me through or out of tests and trials, forgiven me and changed me for the better, healed me physically or emotionally and protected me I realised that nothing is too big for God to overcome. Right up until 2020 God has been working in and through me and has ensured that anything I have needed was available. Somehow God has worked everything out for my good. I need to remember this daily.
My small group have recently been feeding back to each other about all that God has been doing to bless us each week and we have also been chewing over the word and applying it intentionally to our lives as we feel the need to. I have chosen scriptures which have encouraged us and the results have been a group of people who feel more optimistic, empowered and victorious despite the current pressure cooker of life. Some have found the opportunity to be a witness in this season, spurred on and inspired by what we have read. We have been re remembering the joy of our salvation and the power of scripture in the storms of life.
Be encouraged that whatever you are going through, this pandemic has not stopped God being God! He is still sovereign, he is still in control and he is at the helm of our lives in these stormy waters. He knows what we need and will take us to dry land. Jesus has not changed. He has always been good, full of love and able to do all things. He will be the same now and forever!
'But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ's triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere.' 2 Corinthians 2 v 14-15. NIV