Tag: trust

faith in a spin?

Today I put my faith in the weather forecast. It told me that although it was going to be very cloudy it was not going to rain and there would be a good breeze.

‘Perfect,’ I thought, ‘just right for doing some loads of washing.’

Stop sniggering.

So I put a load of washing in the machine, keeping one eye on the looming black clouds.

Stop giggling.

Then, when the machine had finished its cycle I hung out the washing to dry. Outside.

washing lineMeanwhile the clouds got darker and more ominous-looking. So I put another load of washing in the machine.

Stop chortling.

Then, when that was finished and hung out I put the rest of the washing in the machine. I ignored the moisture in the air.

Stop laughing.

No, seriously, stop laughing. Because it didn’t rain. The ominous clouds dispersed and now the sun is coming out. The washing is drying well in the breeze.

I began the day by wondering whether it would be worth doing some washing. I knew that it was needed. Then I did my research into the weather, checking out forecasts that were specifically for our town. Based on that research I decided that it looked like a good day to do some washing, even though looking at the sky you would have reached the opposite conclusion. I trusted the weather forecast.

But if all I did was trust the weather forecast the washing would still be sitting in the washing bin. I had to do something with my trust. I had to put it into action. That’s faith.

Some people reckon having faith means that you bypass your brain and take a leap into the unknown. That’s not what I have experienced.

Faith is putting the washing out on an ominously cloudy day because you trust the weather forecast. Of course there are a lot more reliable things and people in whom we can put our faith than a weather forecast but it’s the same process.

Faith is what happens when you take your research, your experience, your understanding, your hopes, your dream, your needs and your intelligence, blend them all together and then act on them.

Be blessed, be a blessing

getting ready

boxesWe’re in the process of getting ready to move house. And we’re being reminded of just how much there is to do, how much needs arranging, what needs redirecting, what needs to be disconnected and reconnected, what we won’t need in the new house and need to sell / get rid off (snooker table anyone?)… and that’s before we even begin to think about boxes and packing.

I think it’s so complicated because we put down deep roots where we are living. Many of the arrangements we need to make are because of a root that has been put down. Many of them need to be sorted because we have accumulated ‘stuff’. Many of them need to be made because we have acquired things to make living in this house comfortable and the new house is different.

As I consider all of the arrangements that need to be made (and I am not complaining) it reminds me of how Jesus sent out his followers and told them to travel light so they would rely on God’s provision. Is it a truism that the more stuff we have the less we rely on God?

Just a thought as we attempt to declutter a bit…

Be blessed, be a blessing.

wait for it

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Are you any good at waiting?

Are a patient person, or do you get frustrated when your plans are delayed?

Do you see a red light (or even an amber one) as an opportunity to stop, admire the view, and do some thinking or do you see it as an imposition and an irritation – drumming your fingers on the steering wheel until the light turns green?

Do you find waiting easy, even when things are out of your control, or do you want to do all you can to expedite matters?

In the Bible there’s a verse which in some translations says, “those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength…” (Isaiah 40:31). In my translation it says, “those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength…” [my italics]. The first translation made me wonder whether it was about waiting on heavenly tables and getting a tip from God!

Why the difference? The Hebrew word that is variously translated as ‘wait’ and ‘hope’ has different meanings and nuances all contained in the same word. It can mean ‘hope in a certain outcome’; ‘waiting patiently’; and ‘resting trustingly’ and in fact all three aspects are right. As a teenager we had a labrador dog called Bonnie. We used to balance a dog biscuit on Bonnie’s nose and tell her to wait. She would look at us pleadingly as she waited for the instruction to eat it. She would also drool, which was often an encouragement to us to allow her to have the biscuit before we drowned in drool. But she waited expectantly / hopefully / trustingly / patiently.

People who are expectant, patient and trusting in their relationship with God are promised renewed strength. It’s as if we keep putting on fresh strength like we put on fresh clothes daily. The strength is not specifically physical, it is the strength to persevere, to rise above life’s difficulties and problems, to keep going despite the odds. It’s an unnatural strength.

It’s the strength seen in people whose faith in Jesus puts their life in danger yet they refuse to deny that faith. It’s the strength shown by those who faith in God is mocked and ridiculed by others who do not share it.

When my children were a lot younger when they got tired we would carry them. We would tell them to hold on, and they would hold on tight, but actually they were held anyway. Waiting / expecting / hoping / trusting / resting in God is like that – we hold on to him in faith while, whether or not we are aware of it, we are held.

Be blessed, be a blessing

don’t worry

sabbatical clock 001The clock is running, the countdown has begun. This may be the last bloggage for a little while as I am expecting a brief stay in hospital at the start of next week. It’s not for anything life-threatening, but after the surgery I am hoping it will make life more comfortable for me. I won’t explain here in case you are squeamish but will put an explanation at the foot of this bloggage for those who are interested*. (I may blog from the hospital but they may be under the influence of anaesthesia or painkillers so may make even less sense than usual).

Are you like me: when big events are coming up do you tend to focus on them? Do you find yourself considering possibilities where there are different possible outcomes or filling in the gaps where your knowledge is limited? Is it the thing to which your mind wanders when you have nothing else to occupy it?

It’s not that I am worried. In fact I generally find that few things worry me. (Although when I was at school I lost count of the number of times teachers told me not to look so worried and I had to tell them that it was my normal face, I wasn’t worried). I think the lack of worry is because I know that the things of this life are transient. Even my time on this planet is limited (not because I am going into space). And that doesn’t worry me.

Jesus was pretty well spot on when he advised people:

Here is the bottom line: do not worry about your life. Don’t worry about what you will eat or what you will drink. Don’t worry about how you clothe your body. Living is about more than merely eating, and the body is about more than dressing up. Look at the birds in the sky. They do not store food for winter. They don’t plant gardens. They do not sow or reap—and yet, they are always fed because your heavenly Father feeds them. And you are even more precious to Him than a beautiful bird. If He looks after them, of course He will look after you. Worrying does not do any good; who here can claim to add even an hour to his life by worrying? (Matthew 6:25-34 from The Voice version of the Bible).

Worrying only increases stress levels and prolonged stress is not good for us. So there are health benefits to trusting God!

And here’s where we come almost full circle. If I am able to make God’s priorities my priorities because I trust him I will find that the things that are important to him start to fill my mind when I have nothing else to occupy it. I find that he starts to nudge me in the right directions, he prompts me to make the right phone call at the right time and other ‘coincidences’ happen. I find that my relationship with him becomes more naturally part of who I am and less something I have to work hard at.

It starts with faith. And God can use the tiniest bit of that to do amazing things!

Be blessed, be a blessing.

 

* I have a wonderful gadget implanted into me – an occipital nerve stimulator – to reduce and eliminate chronic migraine and cluster headaches. The unit needs to be relocated slightly because where the cable comes out of the unit it is a bit close to the surface of my skin and can make the area tender and sometimes a bit raw. The operation is to make it more comfortable.

storming the weather

Let’s face it, we Brits are obsessed with the weather. It’s one of the default subjects of conversation, it often makes headline news and we are avid amateur meteorologists with our own ways of predicting what the weather will be.

One of the ancient legends is about St Swithin’s Day:

‘St. Swithin’s day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain
St. Swithin’s day if thou be fair
For forty days ’twill rain nae mair.’

The theory is that if it rains on St Swithin’s Day (15th July) it will rain for the next 40 days. Analysis of weather patterns has proved this to be incorrect. This week we have been told that we have had the coldest Spring in 50 years, and the fifth coldest since 1910. Global Warming (ironically) is among the causes that are being blamed for this unusual weather. I don’t pretend to understand it all, but there is no doubt in my mind that human activity has adversely affected our climate and that we will have to get used to different weather patterns as a result. It may be that in years to come the St Swithin’s Day forecasting method becomes more accurate.

If you want one of these weather stones, click on the image to go to a website that will sell you a personalised one.

One of the things that annoys me about our weather forecasts on TV is the amount of time devoted to telling us what the weather has been and what it is right now. We know what it has been. And all we have to do is look out of the window to know what it is doing right now. We want to know what it will be like. You might as well use one of these high-tech weather forecasting stones (which are available to buy – click on the picture to go to the website).

It has been said that it is not that the weather is wrong, it is that we wear the wrong clothes for the weather. That may be so, but it does help if the weather forecast can be consistent enough for us to be able to put the right clothes on. How often do we find ourselves ill-equipped for the weather – thick jumpers on days that turn out to be hot, t-shirts and shorts when it starts pouring down with rain.

Jesus seems to have had a lot to say about the future (paraphrased by me): don’t worry about tomorrow, worrying won’t change anything; prepare as well as you can for what you expect to happen; you may not know what the future holds, but you can know the one who holds the future.

Trusting God for the future is not as easy as it sounds. It’s not a case of sitting back and waiting for whatever happens, because we have a life to be lived to the full. And it’s not a case of being a control freak and then blaming God when our plans fail. There’s a delicate balance that we need to find, and I think it comes from a close walk with God. He’s not someone to be consulted occasionally: he wants to be involved in our lives – a partnership, a relationship. The more we involve him in our lives, the easier it is to trust him and to sense what he wants us to do. The more I have trusted him in the past (and he has come through for me) the easier it is to trust him now and in the future.

Be blessed, be a blessing.

To tell the weather, Go to your back door and look for the dog.

If the dog is at the door and he is wet, it’s probably raining. But if the dog is standing there really soaking wet, it is probably raining really hard.

If the dog’s fur looks like it’s been rubbed the wrong way, it’s probably windy.

If the dog has snow on his back, it’s probably snowing.

Of course, to be able to tell the weather like this, you have to leave the dog outside all the time, especially if you expect bad weather.

Sincerely,

The CAT