Friday, April 28, 2017

I'm Right Here

God is our refuge and strength,    an ever-present help in trouble.Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. 

(Psalm 46:1-3 NIV)

We’ve had a few really unexpected events this week. That sounds so straightforward on paper, doesn’t it! I’m guessing you know the experience is far from straightforward. Things muddle through just about on days which follow the routine, but other days, when we get surprises, can be really tough.

I find myself living in a state of anxious alertness ready for the fallout of these ‘insignificant’ surprises. You know, walking into the classroom to find a different teacher than usual; the blister on the toe; the aeroplane that roars past at playtime; the sudden hail storm; the change of plans; the pen that runs out; the eczema flare-up; the scrap of precious paper that has moved; the ‘new recipe’s sauce!, ...and on and on…

The strength of emotion these surprises bring, come through the household like a storm. It can be hard to know how to react, how to support, how to protect. Guiding us as a family through the storm is exhaustingly intense, it is immensely challenging; it feels relentless. When I try to stand firm on my own energy, my own patience, my own compassion, my own wisdom I quickly crumble. It is easy to feel shaken, and easy to feel despair when the way ahead is unclear.

I am reminded that the words of the Psalmist apply to every storm of life, from the ‘pen that runs out’ to the health emergencies, right through to the national and international turmoil, conflicts and disasters. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” Nothing is too small, or too insignificant for it to be true and nothing is so big or so complex to overwhelm or overpower him. He is ever present, and he is able. I can turn and find him no matter what. And I will always find him wise, loving, unshaken, strong to save – and already on it! His constant love is strong and secure, life-giving enough for me to put down deep roots and stand firm whatever the storm today will bring.

Do you know the hymn by Priscilla Owens, ‘Will your anchor hold’:

We have an anchor that keeps the soul 
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll, 
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move, 
Grounded firm and deep in the Savior’s love.

I have memories of my paternal grandfather singing this with us as children, in his deep strong voice, and showing us this truth lived out in his own life of faith and trust. And I find myself rejoicing with a song that he didn’t know which also speaks of our security held safely in the deep and constant love of Jesus: ‘Your love is amazing’, by Brenton Brown. And as I sing I am praying,

Father God show me once again the foundation of your love firm beneath my feet. Lift my eyes to see your hand steadying and guiding me. Fill my heart with joy again as I recognize your able presence right there with me in it all. Amen

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