Remember that I wrote about my open door policy a few days ago? That I love having an open front door so that friends can just walk in and treat this house as a sort of refuge? I wrote about ‘a much loved neighbour who will occasionally come swinging through the porch to enjoy a minor rant, and -on one occasion- to roar with frustration, but more usually to bring me a song (he’s a musician) or a story, or a cake from the Farmer’s Market.’ Well, he came in for a good humoured roar of frustration today (he has builders in and it’s a big old job)
Doesn’t he just make you smile? Don’t you wish you lived in a village like this? A couple of hours earlier I had been on the beach
And there, just out of the frame of this picture, I watched as a volunteer from marine rescue collected an abandoned and underweight seal pup from the high water mark. Later, on Facebook, we could see the dappled grey seal under a warming light, safe and comfortable, with people who knew how to care for him until he’s well enough to return to the sea.
Don’t you wish you lived in a village like this?
At mid-day a young friend popped in on her way to lifeboat practice. She stayed just long enough to give me a totally undeserved bunch of flowers and a big hug.
Don’t you wish….. ?
There are days when I’m reminded that this is a good place to live, with good people all around me. And something wonderful has happened that means I don’t have to move. I can stay here, continue walking on the beach, keep my door open, enjoy the sight of flowers on my table, the occasional hug, and thank God for the life he has given me. I’m amazed at the solution to my housing problem, because it had never occurred to me or to anyone else. But I’m not amazed that it’s happened. Does that make sense? The solution itself has taken me by surprise but I never doubted for one moment that there would be a solution, that God would provide what I needed. Just didn’t know what. And that didn’t worry me, because I knew that God was doing the working out, not me. When I work things out they are not quite so, erm, you know, worked out. They don’t last.
In Philippians Paul wrote
‘I am convinced that my God will fully satisfy every need you have, for I have seen the abundant riches of glory revealed to me through Jesus Christ!’
I’m no Paul, and I don’t know what you all need just now, but I do know that whatever problems you face if you face them with God, you have no cause to be anxious or afraid. Not that life will be all beer and skittles from now on, of course not, but you will be brought through troubles, held safe, buoyed up. That reminds me of that other Paul pearl of wisdom in 2 Corinthians 4
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”
If you’re feeling hard pressed just now, struggling, as many are, take heart, you do not need to be crushed or defeated or hopeless. Take heart, take a deep breath, and remember Jesus. Hey – I keep thinking of a rather, erm, sort of mawkish old old hymn. I don’t think I’ve ever sung it before but these days, these gentle simple days, I find myself singing the chorus over and over and taking such joy from it ‘Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look deep in his wonderful face, and the cares of the world will grow strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace’. I suppose I’ve always thought the hymn was a dirge, the words morbid, making me think of a death bed scene, like that old oil painting of the death of Nelson, all tragedy and melodrama and gloom. But actually they’re an anthem of joy and certain hope. If we do turn our eyes upon Jesus, the troubles of the world slip away, fade, lose all their power to make us distressed or anxious.
My life is simple. No fame, no great success, no fortune stashed away, no posh car and holidays abroad, instead I have God, the beach, an open door, friends. But don’t look at my happiness and think it’s anything to do with me. That I’ve done something to earn it. I’ve not cleverly planned my life and diligently aimed to arrive at this day, this happy outcome. It’s all a gift. My life is messy (it’s been messier) and most lives go through highs and lows and take unexpected turns, but there can be joy and peace even in the worst of days.
Joy and peace. Deo gratias. Thank God.
‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.’
The key words are ‘as you trust in him’.
Good night, everyone. It’s half past midnight, and I can’t feel my feet because the heating’s gone off, so from West Wales, here’s a prayer for you: May God fill you, wherever you are, with all joy and peace, as you trust in him.