Cars, lions and old hymns*

the garage where my car was MOTed and serviced. Other garages are available!
The garage where my car was MOTed and serviced. Other garages are available!

Yesterday I had my car serviced and it had its annual MOT test. I always put my car in for those tests with a sense of nervousness and apprehension. Will there be something that has gone wrong that will cause the car to fail? Will it be expensive?**

It is the fear of the unexpected and unpredictable that can be far more disabling than the fear of what is expected and known. So, for example, we know that lions like to eat people, and it wise to use our natural fear of being eaten to ensure that we don’t put ourselves in a position where that can happen. We keep lions in Africa, or in zoos and safari parks, and we keep a safe distance from them. What would be scary would be if a lion escaped from a zoo or a safari park near us – we would not know if it was nearby and if it was going to attack us.

I think that is why some people are afraid of the future – we don’t know what it will bring and  cannot always control it. That is why some people refer to their horoscopes in order to try to prepare themselves for what lies ahead.

There’s a great old hymn by Daniel Whittle which includes these words:

I know not what of good or ill
May be reserved for me,
Of weary ways or golden days,
Before His face I see.

But I know Whom I have believèd,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.

That security does not mean we won’t be afraid, but knowing the one who knows the whole of time, what has past and what is to come, means that we are in safe hands no matter what life can throw at us.

Be blessed, be a blessing

*possibly the most ridiculous bloggage title yet

**As it happened, the car passed but needed some new tyres, in case you want to know the end of the story.

surprises

Crazy babyYesterday evening was full of surprises. Sally and I went to a Salsa night at the church, being held in aid of Christian Aid. I was surprised at just how bad I was, but also that I enjoyed it. I believe that I lack the gene that allows people to dance smoothly and gracefully, but I had a go anyway. Ole!

As I was driving towards the church I was paying attention to some pedestrians in the middle of the road and was taken by surprise by a metal pole sticking out from a market stall that was being erected. In one swift move it took the driver’s wing mirror off the car so that it was dangling simply by some cables. Grrr.

Surprisingly the wing mirror seems to have been designed with precisely this sort of event in mind, and it had come off intact. I was able to push it back onto its mountings and it is back to normal. Phew.

When we got home we were surprised to see something was on the ground towards the back of Sally’s car. Normally it is on the drive, but my car was in the way so Sally had left hers neatly parked facing the traffic flow, outside our house. As we got closer we realised that someone had driven into Sally’s car door, leaving some paintwork and a crease, and knocked the wing mirror off. Spooky grrr.

Annoyingly (and sadly unsurprisingly) they did not leave any details so we have no idea who has done it. It has been reported to the police but unless someone goes and owns up it’s unlikely that we will be reimbursed (not worth claiming on insurance). Grrr.

I believe that we are not defined by what happens to us (surprising or not) but by how we respond to those events. We may be annoyed (grrr) when something unpleasant or upsetting happens, but we do not need to allow that bad thing to define who we are. We can respond with grace, love, peace, patience and allow those things to define us. And if we are followers of Jesus, seeking to be free samples of Jesus, his Spirit at work within us helps us to respond in those surprising ways.

Be blessed, be a blessing

A defendant was on trial for murder. There was strong evidence indicating guilt, but there was no corpse. In the defence’s closing statement the lawyer, knowing that his client would probably be convicted, resorted to a trick.

“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I have a surprise for you all,” the lawyer said as he looked at his watch. “Within one minute, the person presumed dead in this case will walk into this courtroom.”

He looked toward the courtroom door. The jurors, somewhat stunned, all looked on eagerly. A minute passed. Nothing happened.

Finally the lawyer said, “Actually, I made up the previous statement. But, you all looked on with anticipation. I therefore put to you that you have a reasonable doubt in this case as to whether anyone was killed and insist that you return a verdict of not guilty.”

The jury, clearly confused, retired to deliberate. A few minutes later, the jury returned and pronounced a verdict of guilty.

“But how?” inquired the lawyer. “You must have had some doubt; I saw all of you stare at the door.”

The jury foreman replied, “Oh, we looked, but your client didn’t.”