Today: Saturday, December 07, 2019

The faith of a 70-something    (7/6/2008 1)

Someone once told me she'd had to have a minor operation with only a local anaesthetic She was a bit scared, but the nurse held her hand and kept asking if she was all right. As the answer was always Yes, the doctor and nurse were able to concentrate on the operation and it was soon over.

The thought occurred to her later that, because she had surrendered herself to her surgeon with complete trust, he was able to do his work and heal her. And she thought that it is the same when we are spiritually hurt: if we surrender ourselves to God in quietness, he will be able to heal broken hearts and anxious minds.

God loves us as a father and he experiences sorrow when he looks at us and sees our pain. We should sometimes sit with him and share his concern and grief, too - not to ask for comfort for ourselves, but to offer comfort to him!

It would be arrogant to assume that we can go through life without experiencing embarrassment, guilt or shame - or not to admit it. Have you ever done your very best, only to have someone ridicule it? Offered an olive branch, only to have it rejected? Had to say a prayer out loud, or speak to a group of people, and afterwards feel dreadfully embarrassed because you know you did it all wrong, and said the wrong things? Borrowed something and lost it, and felt the panic of having to tell the person it belonged to? Been careless, and broken someone's precious something, and felt clumsy and stupid and sorry? And have you ever done something which hurt someone you love very much, because you didn't stop to think?

These things happen to all of us, and if we deal with them properly they teach us something - and it doesn't hurt to be humbled now and then.

I used to listen for God's voice and direction - but I never heard him. Then I realised I was hearing him: through things that happened and things that I saw. Like the double rainbow that I once saw, which was so intense, whole and beautiful: it told me my worries were known, and everything would be all right.

The time I went to check on the four little apples on my apple tree, and there were only two: two had fallen to the ground. But the next time I checked, there were four again! That had a special message for me. Miracles have happened in my life - OK, not earth-shaking miracles, but things have been smoothed and trouble dealt with.

My husband's funeral was such a time. I was unable to cope on that day but someone, somewhere, was praying, because a spirit of calm and peace came over me and I was able to thank God for my husband's life.

I get lonely at times, but I know I only have to get out of the house and walk - visit the ducks on the river, look at the sheep, watch the boats on the canal, to experience the quiet and peace and presence of God.

As the African Children's Choir sings, "What would I do if God didn't love me?" He gave me life, health and a wonderful family, and a solid hope for what is to come.

Pray: Father, help me to be humble. Help me to recognise and admit my mistakes, knowing that this is the fastest way to forgiveness. This will also help other people, by letting them feel more free to admit their mistakes, too - so that we may find it easier to make our peace with one another, as you desire. Amen.

Think about: Have you had moments of spiritual experience - like Dorothy's rainbow, or her apples? What did you put it down to? Can you see God's hand in those special moments?

Challenge: Take an hour out of a day this week to simply go out and walk, like Dorothy does. Don't take the dog, or any music; go alone. Before you set off, ask God to walk with you. Try to see things at a slower pace. See if you feel his presence; see if you sense his peace; see if you feel called to pray; see if you observe him in Creation around you.

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