I’ve been looking back on some of my old blogs. This is partly so I don’t repeat myself, and partly because I recently gained a follower who has read quite a few of my older posts and commented on them. (I have no idea who how this person found me as they aren’t to my knowledge part of my online ‘friend’ group) It still amazes me that what began as a project for me to get some of the things in my head on ‘paper’ whether anyone read them or not is now attracting people all over the world to read what I write. Some of them even want to read more. Before you think I am getting ahead of myself, I actually only have 30 followers. One of them is me (so I could work out what it meant to follow my blog) and one is my dad – and I’m pretty sure he isn’t reading them at the moment.
The thing is, having looked back over the past 3 ½ years or so, there are two subjects that have had the most views, the most response. The first is a post I wrote about Coronavirus. I had read a lot of things online, and wanted to put on record what it was like for someone working in a laboratory, testing hundreds of samples a day, with no let up and no real prospect of it all coming to an end.
The other subject that has proved ‘popular’ is my journey of grief. Losing someone you love is never easy, losing three of them in the space of 2 ½ years is incredibly painful. I don’t say that for more sympathy – it’s just how it is. For years before I have been vocal about the fact that during a crisis is not the time to decide what or whom you believe. It is true that during a crisis you may find out what you really do believe, but it is no time to go looking for the answers. The past few years have challenged me again and again to draw on my faith. Each time I have found it to be up to the challenge. When people ask how I cope in any given situation, it isn’t because I am a strong person. I’m not. I find it incredibly difficult to hold things together by myself. The truth is I have an incredibly strong God who has promised never to leave me or forsake me. Whatever I do, whatever I say – He has been beside me to offer support, and when things got simply too much to bear, He picked me up and carried me until I had healed enough to walk again.
That’s not to say I haven’t cried. I have expressed emotion when I needed to. For decades I felt that this would be a sign of weakness. Stiff upper lip and all that, but more recently I have learned that it is far more important to be true to myself. To admit when I need help. To be me.
I read a quote recently which got me thinking about being brave, and holding emotions inside.
“Jesus knew Lazarus would rise again. Still, He wept.
Because embracing pain is not negating faith. It’s actually being part of the likeness of God.
So have hope, but don’t deny your emotions. Pay attention to them. Feel what you feel.
And enjoy the coming resurrection.” Carlos A Rodrguez
Bill Johnson once famously said that “Faith doesn’t deny a problems existence, it denies it a place of influence.”
My sister recently wrote about a song by Mercy Me that had caused her to examine what she did believe and what she wanted to be able to say honestly to God. The song is called Even if (I’ll post a link at the end of this blog). The song recognises that there is no doubt that God cares. It acknowledges that God is able to do anything and everything to change things. But it also accepts that because we don’t see everything that God sees, there are some instances (depending on what you are going through at any given time that may feel more like most instances) He doesn’t appear to step in to change things – despite persistent and faithful prayer.
The song goes on to say that in spite off all that God can and could do, if for some reason He chooses not to – I will still praise Him. (You may remember that Daniel and his friends said much the same thing when faced with a den of hungry lions)
It is far easier to make the decision to say that when not faced with lions. It isn’t impossible, just much easier.
I’d like to end this post with another quote which I heard recently. I hope you are as encouraged and comforted by it – as I was when I heard it.
God is – and all is well.