Hi, I have been quiet on my blog for a few months now. Not because I have nothing to say but because I had no time to write it down due to some family issues that needed to be handled. In early February by dad died. Although we knew he was ill it was quite sudden. A definite curved ball that needed to be caught and fielded well. What with planning his funeral, we also needed to work out mum's future as she has a number of care needs, not least of which is dementia. A great help in all of this was my church leaders offering me as much compassionate leave as I needed. They took my curved ball and and helped me field it well.
As the last 3 months have evolved there have been a number of other curved balls to catch and my family team have done (IMO) remarkably well in catching and fielding them. So how does all of this connect with our faith lives?
Firstly, none of us is exempt from life's curved balls. The idea that being a Christian means a sort of fairy tale existence of having all we want, having lots of wealth, health and happiness, simply does not stack up in my understanding, with the bibles teaching and especially that of Jesus. Curved balls come at all of us.. Over the last year many, and that includes many Christians, have lost their jobs around the world due to the pandemic. Christians in war torn countries like Nigeria, Syria suffer the same loss of homes, livings, the same dangers as any others. Christians have died or been badly affected by COVID like everyone else.
Secondly, how we view our faith matters. Because it affects how we field the curved balls that come. James tells us that we will face trials
Jas 1:2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
Jas 1:3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
If we believe that nothing testing or difficult will come to us, then when it does it is likely to shake and even break our faith built on sand. If we know that testing will come and are prepared to rely on Jesus, no matter what, we will get through it, with our faith strengthened and our trust deepened. Our faith more resilient.
Facing dad's death and its consequences brought our family closer together, working out things between us, sharing the things that needed investigating or doing and sharing in those first 2 months looking after mum. Day by day I asked God for the strength, wisdom and patience needed. Day by day he gave it to me. God enabled me to conduct dad's funeral and help our family through a difficult day.
Don't misunderstand me. I don't hold that being a Christian is all about some sort of stoic resilience to the challenges of life. My experience has been one of great blessing from God, but not always in being wealthy or healthy. God has never left me without, always given more than I had any right to expect, but has also led me through some very difficult things in life and often in church life. My trust in Jesus and the direction of the Holy Spirit has led me through those times and made the faith that I have deeper and more firm through them. I believe these each have helped my faith in Jesus to be more resilient,