Posts Tagged ‘light’

Yesterday I had to write a difficult letter to someone. I had to write to ask them to be mature in a specific situation. To ask them to not continue to make things worse instead of better and to get over an event from the past so that we could grow into the future. It was difficult to write.

I decided to include the words “As a Christian, I believe that God shines a light into the darkest places and even the most horrible situations can be redeemed. I believe in grace that means we don’t need to be stuck in vicious cycles of despair, and in hope that the future can be better.”

In years gone by, I don’t think that would be how I would have summed up the Gospel. I would have talked about Jesus, the cross and how he died to set us free from the things we had done wrong. I would have talked about the need for us to make our own decision as to whether to follow him or not, and that is what makes someone a Christian or not.

But experience is starting to tell me that although those parts are obviously there, that the Gospel (literally good news) is far bigger and better than we can ever imagine. Reconciliation. Hope. Grace (and yes, have a read of Philip Yancey’s What’s So Amazing about Grace – I did borrow the cycles of grace from him!) Its not just the times that we forgot to say please or said a bad word. As I grow older, I see more of the good that God is doing even in the places where we expect nothing. God is bigger. The cross itself means nothing without the knowledge that Jesus was raised from the dead on the third day. Sunday is coming.

So, I don’t know whether those words will help or not. But it certainly has been helping me.

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Whom shall I fear?

Posted: December 22, 2011 in Promises
Tags: , , , , , ,

The LORD is my light and my salvation—
   whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life—
   of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 27:1

Sometimes it is very easy to be scared. It can seem like everything is going wrong, and the world is crashing down around you. Sometimes, the desire just to hurt can be there, and you don’t know why, or how to get it to go away.

It’s not that you want to hurt yourself really. You know that you have so much to lose. You know that it will disappoint those who are hoping that you are getting better. But sometimes, it just feels so dark and tense and horrible.

But there is always a choice. There is always an escape. You never have to hurt yourself. And that is because the war has already been won, believe it or not. We fight in the little battles, but actually, the result has already been decided.

Sometimes it seems easier to dwell in the places of darkness and melancholy, rather than stepping out into the light. I know, from my own experience that I am more likely to get low at night, by myself, especially when I am tired. Nightmares come easily. Darkness is not my friend.

But if the Lord is my light, that changes everything. I no longer need to fear the darkness. We know that he is a great God, who loves his children. He fought so that we don’t have to. And so that we don’t need to be afraid.

If I feel low before I go to sleep, I try to remember to pray for God’s protection. That the nightmares won’t come. That I won’t do something daft. Someone once gave me some prayers that help – here is one if you feel you need it:

May the cross of the Son of God,
which is mightier than all the hosts of Satan,
and more glorious than all the hosts of heaven,
abide with me in my going out and my coming in.
By day and by night, at morning and at evening,
at all times and in all places may it protect and defend me.
From the wrath of evildoers, from the assaults of evil spirits,
from foes visible and invisible, from the snares of the devil,
from all passions that beguile the soul and body:
may it guard, protect and deliver me.
Amen.

(from the Church of England Website)

Because God IS bigger. Believe it or not.

I will give you the treasures of darkness,
riches stored in secret places,
so that you may know that I am the LORD,
the God of Israel, who summons you by name.

Isaiah 45:3

Darkness. A time where nightmares happen. When things can be hidden. A time when attacks and other crimes take place because no one can see.

A time when tiredness and loneliness can come crashing together and make the world seem like a terrible place until the promise of a new start and another day comes with the morning. A time when the pressures and failures of a day come together and feel like they are insurmountable. A time when I often feel low.

But sometimes good things can come from darkness. Someone once told me that a light shines brighter when it is in a darker place, and it is so true. I still picture the block of flats in the early twilight she pointed to as she said this. Sometimes we need the bad times, the low times to show to us what the good times can be.

And sometimes God can work through our bad times to bring us into a better place. Even when it might feel like He is a million miles away, or that we have pushed Him away through what we have done, He is still there. After all, the God who made the universe isn’t going to change along with our feelings, is He?

It doesn’t always feel like we have riches in hidden places. I know it often feels that I have no riches, no value, no nothing whether openly or hidden. But that is a lie isn’t it? Each one of us has treasures and riches inside because we are children of the living God, and made in His image. Sometimes we just have to dig a little harder to find them, that’s all. But there is a promise in there, that times will get better, and through that we might know the God who has called us each by name.