As the school holidays begin it has given me some desirable time to reflect on the past few months, frequently I have had moments when I have been left shaking my head in disbelief at the current conditions we find ourselves in. During this past week alone, my emotions have been unpredictable and all over the place. Saying goodbye to my pupils virtually via video calls and messages was not the way I wished to end my school year. Nor was it my wish to be entering the school holidays with the level of uncertainty that we are currently facing. At the same time, the easing of restrictions meant that I was able to start my holidays delighting at seeing my sisters for the first time in 7 months. That was also emotional. My older sister is expecting her first baby shortly and separation during this precious time has been hard for us as a family.
The words of the Robbie Burns poem “To a Mouse” ‘The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley,’ have never seemed so apt.
Our worlds, and our own plans, have been very much turned upside down. Without my realisation I had been lured into a false sense of security and into believing that I had more control over my life and circumstances around me than I actually have. Too often, my hope and confidence came not from my faith in God, but from the trust and certainty of things in this world. The support of others, the security that my job provides and in our health care system, for example. Not until the certainties of these things were challenged and ripped from underneath my feet, did I realise my misjudgement and dependence on them. The Devil would love us to rely on poorly built foundations such as ourselves and on worldly influences, rather than on Gods firm foundation. The main thing lockdown has been for me is a stark reminder of just how dependent I am on God and to trust in his plan regardless of how that looks. Jesus told a parable about the foolish man who built his house on a foundation of sand. The storms came and the house collapsed. We know that things of this world are fragile and do not make a solid foundation. They are here today and gone tomorrow. Our Lord God is eternal. He is the Almighty God, the maker of heaven and earth. He has held the oceans and mountains in his hands. Through the power of his voice alone, this world came into being and his voice alone can calm every storm. He is our Rock, our firm foundation that is dependable and everlasting.
My experiences of the last few months although difficult, have not been as dramatic compared to what Paul experienced and suffered while he was imprisoned. Yet, Paul rejoiced in the circumstances in which he found himself in and gives us a good message and example:
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
It is when we are on our knees, challenged and acknowledging our own vulnerability that we learn to trust in God alone and not in our own strength. He is so full of grace and love that we are safe in his hands. When we entrust ourselves into His care, He helps us to grow and He blesses us in these times.
Lockdown has helped me appreciate just how blessed by God I really am. He has provided for my every need and I am learning that He understands my needs much better than I do myself because he is my Creator. I am also learning that I actually need a lot less than I think I do.
During this time I have appreciated the outdoors like never before and I really have adored taking more time out just to appreciate God’s creation. It has encouraged me to get into the habit of listening to Kenny’s sermons whilst walking outside, surrounded by the blessings of God’s creation. My reason for starting this was to help me focus on God’s word and to reduce as many distractions as possible. I am so very easily distracted and the battle is real, with all the distractions we have. I learned that listening to God’s word outdoors, away from the distractions of snacks, chores and my phone, did help to keep me focused. An unexpected blessing of listening to the services outdoors, amongst the beautiful and stunning scenery close to my house, is that it has given me opportunity to worship God in another way too. I am appreciating the glory and splendour of God’s creation in ways that I had not done before. I have been guilty of taking God’s creation for granted not stopping to admire it amongst the busyness and distractions of this world. Yet creation is a reminder of God’s power. It teaches us more about who He is and it is wonderful to be absorbing that.
“For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made”
The God of creation, the God of heaven and earth, holds us in His hands. He is our maker and we are His. He loves us and He has provided for all our needs. He has met our ultimate need of salvation, through His sacrifice at Calvary. Nothing for Him is unexpected and He asks us to trust Him and to leave our worries concerns in His hands. Tomorrow may be full of uncertainties and unknowns for us, but it is not unknown for our Almighty God. He is in control, has a perfect plan for us and we can trust in Him, and His plan for our lives, completely.
“And why do you worry about clothes? Consider how the lilies of the field grow: They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his glory was adorned like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles strive after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own.”