Rob & I attended a friend’s wedding on 19th July. It was a beautiful sunny day- just like our own wedding day on the same day- now over twenty years ago!
I reminisced & listened misty-eyed to Pachelbel’s Canon & to the poetic vows, promises made to stand by each other & remain true-no matter what:
For richer or poorer
For better or worse
In sickness & health
Twenty years on, we are very happily married. But looking back over the years, there have been both the best & worst of times. There has been sickness & health. There have been a complete spectrum of stresses, and even bright sunny days can be overcast by boulders carried in our hearts.
And we are not alone in life-experiences! Indeed if we all threw our troubles up in the air ,we would probably be glad if we caught our own again!
I believe that ‘the Universe is made up of stories, not of atoms’ (Muriel Rukeyser) And over the course of time, the story of our life together has mingled with the stories of those we go through life with- family, friends, colleagues, our wider social circle & friends of friends. We hear their stories over cosy cups of coffee, via social media & prayer bulletins. The stories criss-cross with our own, & intertwine together, to form part of a bigger story that we call everyday life.
So many of these true stories are sadder than fiction:
sudden deaths & tragic accidents
babies dying before they are born,
diagnoses that are beyond chemotherapy & modern medicine,
teenagers taking their own lives,
alcohol & drugs,
debt & stress,
In the middle of difficulties, when our head is swirling, we need to focus on a still, unchanging point in our reeling world. In the ever-changing vista of the kaleidoscope of life, when life feels like its spinning out of control, we need to focus on God- the One who keeps galaxies in orbit.
We need to be still & see with the eyes of faith
‘ Open your eyes and see how good God is. Blessed are you who run to him.’
(Psalm 34:8 MSG)
We can have the eyes of our heart wide-open to the invisible:
‘Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. ‘(Hebrews 11:1 NIV)
In the hard, hurting pages in the dark chapter of life, it can be hard to ‘see’ God, the Author of our life-but God is at work in our stories
Even when we can’t see God’s hand, we can trust His heart. He is behind the scenes:
‘So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace…There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever. ‘(2 Corinthians 4:16-18 MSG)
God can mend tattered hearts & broken dreams. He can put the fragile, broken pieces back together again- the way they were always meant to fit together-like a brilliant craftsman forming his masterpiece.
There are things we just can’t see at the moment, but our invisible God is at work
‘So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are! will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.’
(1 Peter 5:10 MSG)
I was listening to an audio-version of Kay Warren’s book ‘Choose joy for happiness isn’t enough’ earlier this year. Her words feel even more poignant since the shocking news that her son committed suicide. In the book, Kay describes joy & sorrow like parallel tracks on the railway of life.
I too am convinced that joy & sorrow, love & suffering, peace & pain are inextricably linked –but in an even more intricate way than parallel tracks. Perhaps, they are intertwined like the twisting double stranded helix molecule of DNA – the blue print of life itself. Just as DNA is held together by hydrogen bonds, the twists & turns in life are stabilised by intricate bonds of the love & mercy, grace & goodness of God.
Just now, in this moment of time, our lives may seem like a tangled mess- but with the eye of faith, we can choose to see that even the troubles & trials, stresses & strains, the bitter & sweet are part of the intricate plans of the perfect infinite wisdom of our God.
Our God created the cosmos, designed our souls & planned our destinies. Yet He carries our burdens and collects our tears:
‘You have taken account of my wanderings; Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in your book?’
‘You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights, Each tear entered in your ledger, each ache written in your book.’ (Psalm 56:8 MSG)
We have to choose to see the unseen-to trace the invisible fingerprints of God in our lives, as He weaves His thread of blessings through the twisting helix of life. He alone can weave all things together for our good (Romans 8:28) into the plans He has for us (Jeremiah 29:11)
Even when things don’t seem to make sense, & everything seems random & chaotic , we can praise Him where we are at- ‘in the storm- even when our hearts are torn’ (Casting crowns)
We can offer a ‘Broken hallelujah’ (Mandisa) & exclaim “Blessed be the name of the Lord”
We can proclaim:
‘This is not how it should be,
This is not how it could be,
This is how it is,
And our God is in control
This is not how it will be,
When we finally will see
We’ll see with our own eyes
He was always in control
This is not where we planned to be
When we started this journey
But this is where we are
And our God is in control’
(Steven Curtis Chapman)
As we open wide the eyes of our heart in faith, we will fall upwards into the arms of our Almighty Father God.
There we can whisper:
‘I know now Lord why you utter no answer. You yourself are the answer’ (C S Lewis)
And He promises:
“I’ll convert their weeping into laughter,
invading their grief with joy.”
(Jeremiah 31:13 MSG)
May this be our prayer:
‘O grant me wisdom from above,
To pray for peace and cling to love,
And teach me humbly to receive
The sun and rain of Your sovereignty.
Each strand of sorrow has a place
Within this tapestry of grace;
So through the trials I choose to say:
“Your perfect will in Your perfect way ‘
But for now,
*Edited from post originally published @ www.blessedme.co.uk