This is a sort of guest blog, introducing you to someone new;
During lockdown I met, virtually, someone who has become a dear friend. We haven’t yet met in person, but we email almost every day, sometimes with very little to say, but just for the joy of connecting. In the middle of last year, when we were just getting used to the restrictions of Covid, this woman, younger than me, became suddenly and seriously ill, and after tests and hospital the diagnosis came – a life-changing and limiting disease. It would be a shock for anyone but she’s always been an active and busy person, looking after family, working with animals and loving her garden, busy, busy, busy. Almost overnight that came to a stop, or maybe, hopefully, a long pause….
I would like to show you some of our conversation yesterday, with my pal’s permission.
From the beach, I sent her a photo of the year’s first Sabbath on the edge of the Irish Sea.
and I wrote
“Thinking of you, on a silent beach. My meditation this morning was on contentment and it occurred to me that contentment is sometimes very very easy. Right now on this lovely mild morning under God’s great sky, it is easy to be content and thankful. But then I think of those poor people in America whose homes have burnt down, of those starving in Afghanistan, of so many places in the world coping with floods and I wonder where the contentment is in these places. And then of course I think of my friend, who is facing illness and difficulty and an unknown future. That made me smile because of course every future is unknown, but you know what I mean. So today I am sending a special prayer right up to heaven for you, for your peace and contentment whatever comes your way. I can’t look it up now but it reminds me of that verse “though there is no fruit on the vine and no cattle in the stall, yet will I trust in the lord.”
And just a few hours later I had this reply, and it took my breath away with its joy and radiating thankfulness – tumbling, lavish joy and thankfulness – in very difficult circumstances:
“I can’t even imagine how hard it must be to find contentment in the grim situations you mentioned but I do know that it is given as a gift in a situation like mine. The “unknown future ” becomes much more important , much clearer. When you realise how short life is, the appreciation of every minute increases hugely. Not in a “bucket list ” of must-do things but rather a feeling of gratitude for the opportunities in each day.
Opening my eyes in the morning… wow ! A new day.
Small things increase in value. Your walk ahead becomes focused, timescale and priorities have changed. And with that, there is a wonderful peace and contentment I’ve never felt before. Faced with a situation that I can do nothing about, I know (not just intellectually ) that God is Almighty. I don’t have to be. He is in control and I have to trust Him. Life experience has shown God to be utterly trustworthy. Eternal life and a resurrected body with no more frailty, pain and tears, become nearer and clearer and something eagerly anticipated.”
How amazing that someone in those difficult conditions can radiate such joy. And how amazing that God gives us the strength we need, when we need it.
You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you.