Stand by for an outpouring. I have a load of stuff in my head just now. It has to go somewhere so it’s going into this blog.
First off, some of you will know that my life verse, my favourite chunk of my favourite book in the Old Testament (don’t purse your lips like that – you can’t stop me having a favourite book, however wrong it is of me) is in Isaiah 43
Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
I am in limbo at the moment – not the Catholic nonsense about an in-between place, somewhere south of heaven and north of hell but just in-between houses – so I’ve been thinking about these words quite a lot over the last few weeks. It’s a time of endings and beginnings in my life, a whole new, unknown and solitary life opening up. It could be hard, and at times it is, just briefly, like a sharp pang, but I love the conversational style of this word from God, like he’s nudging me in the ribs, saying ‘Listen up, open your eyes, look around, see what I’m doing, trust me.”
This week he’s nudged me, good and hard, several times, so that I can’t ignore him, can’t pretend I haven’t got the message:
On Fridays I meet with a pal and we listen to a talk on rightnowmedia together and this week – lo and blinkin’ behold – those favourite life verses were quoted. One section of the talk was titled ‘The In-between‘!
On Sunday I went to a local church, one I don’t normally attend, and blow me down with a feather if the message didn’t also focus on those verses! It was all about new beginnings, a time of change, the in-between time when the Jews were wandering in the desert. I so wanted my old friend Jane to be there with me, how she would have laughed at my amazement.
This morning on the beach it was one of those quiet days when the water seems to be heavy, the waves like folds of velvet, the air warm and gentle… you know? I took a photo and posted it on Instagram, quoting that same chunk of lovely truth. Then I listened to the daily meditatation and it featured… yes! You guessed it. Them same verses.
Amazing. I mean, mind boggling. I googled it and there are over 31,000 verses in the Bible. Quite a lot to choose from.
A few minutes later I was listening to the waves as I sat on a log, the dogs were watching the shoreline for oyster catchers and it was a moment of contentment. No past and no future, just God and me, Percy, Pip and Pico. And then there was silence. Total silence. It was that lovely moment when the tide turns, when the rhythm of the waves pauses, and for a few seconds the sea makes no sound at all, as if the world is holding its breath. So I held mine. Wonderful….. And then a gentle wave ripples, no more than a whisper, and again a few seconds of enfolding silence… savour them…. and another wave, a little louder this time, and so we gradually return to the steady heartbeat of the tide.
As I walked off the beach I met a friend and neighbour and we stood together gazing at the silver sea.
He told me that I am the most surrendered person he knows. It made me smile. He isn’t a Christian. He knows that I am surrendered but he doesn’t know who I am surrendered to. It must seem to him that I’m slightly crazy, a few weeks off moving, nowhere to go to, no anxiety, not even any concern. But somehow he sees that the word ‘surrendered’ means something, or maybe everything, to me.
When God is taking me by the hand, revealing himself in so many ways, over and over again, so clearly, so undeniably there…. what a fool I would be not to surrender. Surrender to the one who loves perfectly, cares completely, protects totally. What a fool I would be.
And, alright, I’m a bit of a fool, most of the time, but c’m’onnnn…. I’m not that big a fool! Even me!
Even to your old age and grey hairs
I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you.
And in the words of Jesus:
“And everything I’ve taught you is so that the peace which is in me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in me. For in this unbelieving world you will experience trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous, for I have conquered the world!”
I wasn’t going to write about that. That blog just sort of happened. I was going to write about bread and circuses. Maybe next week.