We are going through quite trying times. These days are, for many of us, worrying, frustrating, confusing, unsettling and plain aggravating. It seems that the world is full of incompetence and thoughtlessness; well worn procedures are failing, waiting lists for just about everything are growing longer, the suer-duper technology of 21st Century communication can’t even get a simple message from A to B, computer systems crash, bills rise, and savings dwindle. Governments fall, politicians turn out to be grubby (who’da thought it?) and now there are going to be strikes as well as war and famine and inflation and Covid (Oh, yes, much better, thank you for asking).
I mean, its all a mess, isn’t it?
Who can blame us for getting cross and frustrated and grumpy?
The crosser we get, the the crosser we get. And much good it does us.
But in spite of all the mayhem and contumely assailing us on every side, this morning the sea rolled in, the world turned as it should, clouds scudded and birds soared. The breeze was busy breezing, my dogs were happy, the log I sat on was only slightly damp, my breathing is returning to normal, and I wished, with all my heart, that I could have all my friends there with me, on the beach. Any and all of you, including those who have been provoked and tested by life recently. It seemed to me that if I could just have you there with me then all your cares and all your exasperation would, surely… surely… fade away. We could sit in silence, maybe smiling at each other occasionally, turning our faces to the wind, inhaling the ozone and the salt and the goodness. Or we could tell each other daft little things that have happened this week. I could tell you about the tweet I saw
‘We had a complaint that there was no water in front of the restaurant
but there was in the photos.
We explained that the tide would be back in shortly.’
And we could watch the life-saving club youngsters arrive, the flags and tents being erected, the sailboarders and the gambolling silly dogs, and when the cafe opened we could have a Sunday communion of breakfast baps and coffee. We could even sing a hymn or two.
Sitting there, on my slightly mouldy throne, it occurred to me that whatever we’ve all lived through this week, however bad or good, whether it’s been exasperations and frustration or grief or joy, it’s all done and dusted. Over. All things pass.
This is now. A moment to savour. We are in eternity. We are in eternity. We are in the sacred.
Listen to me, listen to me, while I try to say the unsayable and to explain the unexplainable – we are in eternity.
Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” John 5:24
We are in eternity right now. We have passed over from death into life. These little things that trip us up, they’re nothing. There are some bigger, heavier things like grief and depression and they slow us down and tug on our hearts, and bring us to tears, but even they cannot drag us back into death. We are in life.
Flip me, isn’t that something to celebrate? What the hell do all the little petty annoyances of life matter, how do they even register, when we have that great truth in our heads and our hearts, foremost?
Here’s a hard fact that I think is true. Argue with me, let’s get a discussion going;
impatience and frustration are totally and essentially selfish.
They are our emotions flooding in, shouting out ‘Me! Me! Me!’ They are small barely disguised temper tantrums, flaring up when we don’t get our own way, when we have a sense of foiled entitlement, when we feel that our time is important, that they ought to do better, that we deserve more than this. These reactions are not Godly, we all know that, but I think that sometimes we forget that if they are not Godly then they are just plain bad. UnGodly. Against God.
And they’re daft. They’re as daft as Basil Fawlty beating the living daylights out of a lump of metal.
I know a woman (she doesn’t do blogs so I’m safe telling you this) who worries and worries and worries over what might happen, about weather and illness and debt and safety. She owns a snug house, with a good income, and she’s fit and loved by her family. She can’t understand that by worrying about all the things that she has no control over, things that may never happen, she is robbing today of its joy. I have none of her advantages and yet I have no worry. She doesn’t understand me, she pities me, sees me as a simpleton. I tell her that the love of God, and living with God is full of joy, but she just doesn’t get it. She doesn’t understand that her worry has turned into seething anger robbing every day of its warmth and fun. She fumes and frets and complains when things go askew, when people are late, when they’re early, when they don’t meet her expectations, when she feels a right to be disappointed… her search for perfect peace is wearing her down. Or is she searching for control? Maybe that’s it. Maybe she feels that if she could only control everything in her life, her life would be perfect. Maybe she thinks that only she can be trusted to do everything right.
….blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit
Jeremiah. He’s another one I want to meet one day. Him and Isaiah and Job and Habbakuk. But that’s just me being silly – I don’t really think I’ll ever meet them. I think I’ll be too busy soaking up the radiance of God and delighting in Him to be conscious of anyone else. That’s something, isn’t it?
Eternity with the one we love. That’s where we are now. In eternity. So why don’t we remember that? Why do we waste energy and love and life on fretting?
No more Me! Me! Me!
Instead Him! Him! Him!