Circumstances beyond our control

We are in a different world ….. and I can’t do a thing about it.

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This has been a momentous week in the UK. On Thursday the nation voted to leave the EU and since then we have begun to experience and understand the repercussions of this decision. Our Prime Minister has announced his intention to resign, our EU Commissioner likewise, the pound has weakened, share prices have fallen. Friends of mine who live in the UK but don’teu-1473958_1280 hold British passports are feeling insecure and unwanted, fellow Brits are feeling bewildered. Some voted to leave and some did not. The truth is that today whether we voted “leave” or “remain” we are in a very different world to the one we knew until Wednesday. And I can’t do a thing about it. It is all beyond my control.

When things are out of our control we can feel very anxious, whether it is a matter of national politics or something closer to home. Uncertainty makes us feel insecure.

As I write this I am reminded about the millions of people who are living with constant fear and insecurity because of war or famine. Unlike me they live with their lives on the line on a daily basis. Unlike me they have little hope of prosperity or security and no sense of control over their lives.File_000 (4)

We, on the other hand, often live our lives under the illusion that we are in control but it is not until something like this referendum, job loss or ill-health etc comes along that we realise that we are not in control. It is so much easier to trust God when life is going smoothly but I wonder if we are actually trusting more in the status quo? When faced with the reality that we are not in control things are different. This is when we see where our faith ultimately lies.

There is a greater reality, however, and that is that there is One who is in control, the One who holds the world in His hands, the One who flung stars into space. He is not fazed by world events or by the bumps along the way in our lives. This is where our security lies. Governments, politicians, and referenda may come and go but the Lord remains the same .He will never leave you or forsake you. (Heb 13:5)

I know that when I was diagnosed with breast cancer I suddenly had no control over what was happening to me. I was used to taking my health for granted but now I lost confidence in my body because it had succumbed to disease and I couldn’t do anything about it. Whatever may happen to us to bring change into our lives we can feel the same; we can lose our confidence and become bewildered.

I chose to put my trust in God. My favourite encouragement was “My Father loved me yesterday, He loves me today and He will love me tomorrow” My security is in the fact that God loves me and cares for me. There is nothing outside of his control (that is not to say that our lives will always follow the path that we wanted) and he knows about the detail of my life.

At times like these we need to regroup after the initial shock and turn again to the promises of God.

“The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
    the righteous man runs into it and is safe.” Prov.18:19

At times like these we need to pray. Prayer is a great antidote to anxiety. As we pray we cast all our cares on the Lord (I Pet. 5:7)  We also need to pray for those in authority over us – for the government and our local councils.

At times like these we need to encourage one another.

At times like these we need to lift our heads.

At times like these it is good to be reminded that we are not in control, but One who is much more reliable than we are, is in control. He is the Lord and He reigns on high and in my life too.

Christine

Photo Credits
EU/British flags: pixabay
Other images are mine and were created using wordswag

Heads up!

Looking down instead of up

Sometimes something imperceptible happens –  maybe I’ve had a tough week, maybe I am just tired, maybe I have had bad news and after a short time I realise that I am looking down instead of up. It’s not that I have sinned or that I have made a willful decision to look down. It just seems to happen from time to time.

 

At times like these I can find myself turning to myself and my own resources for living my life. It’s a dangerous place to be. I can turn to other things – tv, boxed sets, food or anything else that gives momentary satisfaction.

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You see the looking down has become avoidance. Because I haven’t felt great I don’t feel like worship, I don’t feel like making an effort. Then I can get stuck. Not enjoying the place where I find myself but not wanting to do anything about it either.

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This is where the enemy starts to whisper condemnation and accusation into my ears. Feeling disgruntled and disappointed makes us withdraw further.

Telling ourselves to pull ourselves together doesn’t work; it’s not an answer – just more trying to do work things out in our own strength and not dealing with the issue. No at times like these whether we feel like it or not we need to go back to God

Thank goodness we have a Father who is the lifter of our heads. Ps 3:3. He gently puts his hand under our chin and raises our head so that we gaze into his eyes. In that place we reconnect with the love of God. As we meet His gaze we know that we are loved, the condemnation and accusation falls away and I am at home with my Father.

When I  lift my eyes to God I am able to process my disgruntlement and disappointment with Him, I can talk to Him about it instead of storing it all up in my pity jar. I can be real about the pain with the One who really understands.

When I lift my eyes to God I am lifting my eyes to the source of all my help. He is described as the author and finisher of my faith. He is the one who gave me faith in the first place and one day He will bring me home to glory when the time for faith will be finished because I will see him face to face. Of course He will help me, Of course He wants me to come to Him.

Psalm 121

I lift up my eyes to the hills.
    From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved;
    he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
    the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
    nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all evil;
    he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
    your going out and your coming in
    from this time forth and for evermore.

The Psalmist knew where his help came from. I know that too really. It’s just that sometimes I need to remind myself.

photo credits:
DVDs photo belongs to me and  cannot be used without permission. Thank you!
Other photos: pixabay

 

 

 

Pillars of the palace

Women are highly valued in God’s kingdom

“May our sons in their youth be like plants full grown, our daughters like corner pillars cut for the structure of the palacePs 144:12

A reflection on the intrinsic value of women in the Kingdom of God.

I have been so struck by this verse in  Psalm 144. Why would King David pray that the nation’s daughters would be like pillars? We might be tempted to think that pillars were beautiful and therefore ornamental but this verse does not allow us to limit  its meaning to mere decoration, these pillars are cut for the structure of the palace. So what does it tell us about these daughters?

Firstly they are cut. There is a shaping involved. Shaping to make them fit.  Blocks of stone are transformed into (usually) circular form.Shaping can be painful but pain is not always destructive and purposeless. Here it produces  strength and beauty. (Another image of this comes from the New Testament when Jesus talks about the vinedresser pruning vine branches which do not bear fruit.)

They are cut for the structure of the palace. It wouldn’t be a palace without structure. The structure is what holds the palace up. These pillars are essential; they are at corner intersections between walls holding them in place.

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Pillars are strong; the rest of the building is strengthened by them. They support the roof or even other floors.

Pillars stand tall; they withstand all pressure and remain standing.

Pillars are long-lasting – often the only features that last when all the other elements of a building have gone.

Pillars are often beautiful but they are not merely decorative, they are not just an add on, they have purpose.

Pillars effortlessly and elegantly carry weight. They are designed for this.

Pillars don’t stand alone (you don’t see a solitary pillar holding up a roof). In large buildings such as described in this verse there are many pillars.

This is such a wonderful picture of Christian womanhood. Strong, beautiful and purposeful. Women are essential to the strength of the building – it won’t stand without them.Women have purpose. Women carry weight, this may be as you mother your children, teach, disciple, give pastoral support, share the gospel, work with the disadvantaged, engage with your neighbourhood community, write novels or produce works of art.  Whoever you are, no matter how young, or how  old, you are important in the Kingdom of God. You are pillars in your families, pillars in your communities (local, work, social), pillars in the church, in fact wherever you find yourself.

Far from being under-valued, women are highly significant in God’s kingdom and have a very important place.

So stand tall, hold your head high and be all that you were designed to be!

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photo credits:
All photos belong to me and  cannot be used without permission. Thank you!