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A Time for Everything9 months ago
In this week’s blog, ReSource Minister Anne Roberts reflects on finding God in a new season of life that was not of her choosing, and of treasuring each moment as a gift from the Holy Spirit who is always with us.
3 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
A brilliant peace of poetry from the book of Ecclesiastes, probably written about 935 B.C. and yet still so meaningful today. It summarises the ups and downs of each of our lives, as well as the shared experience of families, communities and whole nations. Life is always about variation, transition and change. And there is usually overlap; joy and sadness can be present in our lives at the same time, as can chaos and healing or death and resurrection. Change can be self-generated or it may come from an external source. It may be gradual or sudden, welcome or resented. However it comes, it affects who we are and how we perceive the world around us.
Change is necessary for growth and therefore woven into the divine creation plan. The Holy Spirit is dynamic, vibrant and active in our world, connecting heaven and earth, spanning the centuries, holding the seconds, blessing our every breath.
Change not chosen or understood
Enforced early retirement for me, after a trip to hospital and a cancer diagnosis, has led to a period of accelerated change in our house. Not chosen or understood, sometimes denied and resented, now and again accepted and held as a gift. To go from perceiving myself as useful, capable, professional, called by God, busy etc., I now take a deep breath when I look in the mirror and see a tired, frail, muddled old lady!! But I am still me, I just need to get used to a new perspective. Occupying a new space is exhausting as it means putting down the familiar and willingly entering an unknown journey of discovery. Mistakes are inevitable, but the psychoanalyst Carl Jung may be right in saying “Where you stumble and fall, there you find pure gold.” I am learning to expect glimpses of God’s grace in each day, and they are there, when I take the time to look.
Time feels different. The days are longer, and the nights longer still. This is probably good as I can’t rush anything. If, somehow, I am to grow in spiritual maturity during this phase of my life, it has got to be a slow process. I have found it helpful in August to read Richard Rohr’s book “Falling Upward” where he explores the idea of a second half of life spirituality, where the focus is on “being” rather than “doing”. Perhaps my call from God now is to just be me, and if He chooses to use my quiet “being” to encourage or influence others, then so be it. I certainly can’t organise or manage that. Rohr uses the image of being willing to move from the driver’s seat into the passenger seat, trusting my Divine Driver, and knowing that I am still allowed to make helpful suggestions to Him!
Finding the gift in every day
I am gradually learning to treasure each day, to let go of time, to live in the moment, to be thankful for small things, to love what I have. My only certainty is that the dawn will come each day, regardless of how I am. The birds sing before dawn because they are confident of the sun rising and the gift of a new day. They instinctively understand the continuous refrain in the creation narrative of Genesis 1 “There was evening, there was morning” on each and every day. One of my favourite old hymns is “Great is Thy Faithfulness”
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see:
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide,
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow —
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!
For all of us, whatever change we are experiencing in our lives in 2021, we are invited to hold on to the God who is faithful, who says he will be our Rock and our Strength.
Psalm 18 opens with these words
I love you, Lord;
you are my strength.
2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my saviour;
my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.
He is my shield, the power that saves me,
and my place of safety.
Nourished by sung worship
Being retired, I can listen to music and read whenever I want to. That is a gift. Different songs resonate with me and this week it is a modern hymn, Matt Redman’s “Ten Thousand Reasons.”
“The sun comes up, it's a new day dawning
It's time to sing your song again
Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes”.
I hope you can find the opportunity now to be still and watch this version. And as you do, may the Spirit of God draw close, and remind you that as you journey through time and change, you are never alone.