Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Pure joy and relentlessness

It's a beautiful morning, Lord.

The sun is out, the birds are singing, the magnolia buds are looking fat and pink and full of promise against the blue sky. The children went off to school happy as they're having their 'Mini-Olympics' today and are allowed to wear sports clothes for the day, and I have a little time to potter on my computer and check in with you. 

Two things have happened. Possibly three, but I need to work it out in my head and then I'll decide. 

(*actually, more than three.)

Magnolias in Spring
I walked back from school today and the world seemed in vivid colour. I put my headphones on as I walked and I chose a song that I like. However, as I put the iPod in my pocket, it jumped to another track. It was 'My Troubled Soul (Praise the Mighty Name of Jesus)'. This song has resonance for me as I've long been a worrier and I do believe you spoke to me through it some time ago. 

'My troubled soul, why so weighed down?
You were not made to bear this heavy load
Cast all your burdens upon the Lord
Jesus cares, he cares for you'.

(2001 Kingsway Thankyou Music / EMI)

I am so often weighed down and at the moment my anxieties are particularly burdensome. I've gone on and on about my worries so I know that you're aware of them; I know that it isn't your plan for me to stumble about here trying to carry something that's too heavy for me. How come I can't leave them with you when I do believe that you are there waiting, and I can trust you?

'...and all your worrying won't help you make it through...'

I can't make Katy better. I can't do anything on my own - I rely on you for every breath. I do indeed need to trust again in the promise of your love. 

'So I will praise the mighty name of Jesus
Praise the Lord the lifter of my head
I will praise the rock of my salvation
All my days are in his faithful hand'.

Lord, you really did lift my head. This morning as I walked back I noticed the magnolia buds against the blue of the sky. I noticed little green shoots on a bare hedge just starting to come to life again. If I hadn't looked up I would never have seen them. 

little green shoots of Spring
Lord my days are in your hand. So are my little Katy's and those of everyone I care about. I switched the computer on and a daily devotional by Max Lucado was in my email inbox. He was talking about just this. Everything is in your hand. It's under control. You've got this one. 

There's no point in fighting and kicking and objecting. 

'Trust again in the promise of his love'

It seems to be something that I need to do over and over again. I think I do trust you, then I realise how knotted up with worry and confusion I am and then you gently remind me and I understand that I've taken it all back. All the responsibility. All the heaviness. I can't stop Katy's illness. I can't even look after her as completely as I'd like. Only you can do that. Only you are all-encompassing. Only you will never let us down. It's only you. 

'I will praise the rock of my salvation.'

There's so much more going on this morning. I read a Bible verse first thing on my phone and I confess that I pressed the little 'next' button quite quickly because it wasn't what I wanted to hear. 

'Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.'
James 1:2-4

My initial response was 'Ha.' And I don't mean I laughed in a happy sort of way. Who can think to themselves, 'Hooray! Things are going badly at the moment! Praise the Lord! My life has come crashing down around me!'  Who? 

I don't get this one. So I pressed the button and found another verse that was a bit more to my liking for the day. I forget what it was. Perhaps that's significant.

But about an hour later a friend sent me a text with this very verse. She said, 'Courage and strength, my friend.'

Trials, yes. Joy? No. Testing of my faith? Seems likely. At this point I know that it would be perfectly possible to say that I don't understand why this is happening to Katy and I don't think you're being fair. But I can't do it without you. Where would I go, if not to you?  What shall I do, if not persevere? What choice do I have? 

Run away? It's tempting but it's not an option. Go to bed and refuse to move? Yeah, right. Also tempting, but I can't do that either. All I can do is keep putting one foot in front of the other. Courage and strength. Yes please, give me courage and strength. 

Next in my eventful little hour was yet another little touch from you via technology. You are a God who moves with the times, are you not? 

I was browsing on the computer and I read the blog of a friend of mine who lives many miles away across the sea and yet I feel as if I know her. She is my sister in you. We're family. She pointed me to you this morning.

Dwelling in the House: Relentless

'Over the last few months, God has been teaching me about belief in the face of
unyielding circumstances.
Faith boils down to this: do I just believe in God - 
or do I believe God?
You see, I've got some stuff in my life that is not.
More than once, I have cried out in prayer, 'Lord, this situation won't end. It is relentless!'
His answer:
So am I.'

(Ginger, December 2010)

This made me sit back in my chair. Well, actually it's a stool, so I didn't sit back as such, but I straightened up and took my hands off the keyboard in a sort of 'pause' moment. 

Katy's lump is back and now there are two. This disease seems relentless. The surgeon told us that if he hadn't got it all, it might come back, and getting it all was difficult as the tumour was wrapped around a nerve in her neck. He must have left some. And it started growing, relentless. Slowly at first, perhaps it was a little stunned following four hours of surgery attacking it. It hadn't been beaten. Slowly, determinedly, then picking up pace, but relentless. 

So are you. You are bigger than the universe, let alone bacteria. You are bigger than anything, and our troubles are so small in comparison that they should be nothing to you, and yet you reach down to reassure me. You reach down to hold Katy's heart so that in church on Sunday when our Rector asked, 'Who will let Jesus into our homes?' Katy's hand shot up and she said 'Yes! Open the door!'

The illness might be relentless, and so are you. You won't give up on us, will you?

You cannot be beaten.

I might not understand why or when or anything much at all, really, but then you tell me that I don't have to understand. Just trust. 

Trust again in the promise of your love.

I have lots of stuff in my life that is not trusting you. Help me parcel it up and leave it in front of you. Leave it with you. 

Thankyou for lifting my head to see the magnolias against the blue sky. 

Thankyou for good, good friends who have wisdom to share and for obedience to you when you prompt them to share it. 

Thankyou for your word, and I'm sorry I sort of snorted at it this morning.

I'm struggling a bit with the 'pure joy' part. 

Help with this would be gratefully received. 


  1. He is bigger and stronger and able to do more than we think or imagine. I praise Him that He showed up in your day to remind you of His truth. You--and your sweet Katy--are His beloved. Praying He continues to speak loudly and constantly.
    Love you, friend.

  2. Amen! Loud is good because I'm not very good at listening.
    Thankyou so much.


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