Monthly Reflection – January 2016
No one said life would be easy!
12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
Have you ever thought ‘this is too hard’? Or ‘I wish this was easier’? I know I have- and I have to confess to a recent and on-going instance of thinking and praying both those things- when really I should be thinking and praying ‘Lord help me to be better’ or ‘Lord help me through this’. It made me think of a famous quote from John F Kennedy:
‘Do not pray for easy lives- Pray to be stronger Men’
Some of you may know that recently that there has been a small change in role for me at work- I have moved from the ANPR team to Roads Policing patrol where I have taken charge of one of the teams at Hatfield.
Well as part of that move there has been a change to the role of Roads Policing Officers which means I am going to have to run further in my annual fitness test- and for me to be honest this is a big challenge….. I am not a ‘light’ as I was in my younger years and although I exercise on a regular basis both at the gym where I have a personal trainer with some road cycling I am finding it a struggle to get to the level required! I found myself praying before I went to the gym that ‘the bleep test would be easy’– the reality of it is that it isn’t easy if you are not fit enough! And let’s be honest the truth is that I need to be lighter, fitter and work a bit harder!
It is very easy for us to seek the easy option on occasions- when the reality is that sometimes we should be trying harder instead! We see in the scripture above that when someone perseveres at something difficult that it is a blessing! We have this piece of scripture on display near the front door of our house- and it was a scripture given to me when I was baptised as an adult- it has been a constant source of strength and encouragement to me over many years and I realised recently that it is wholly relevant to both my own battles with raising my fitness levels and the wider walk of us all in our lives as Christians!
If you are a football fan you will be aware that we are currently going through the stages of the F.A. Cup where there are still some of the minor teams in the draw- looking at the fifth round draw Shrewsbury Town have been drawn at home to Manchester United. This for Shrewsbury Town, their players, staff and fans is the draw they would have wanted I suspect! Not because the match will be easy or because they are guaranteed to win- No! This is the perfect draw because it is a challenge, a once in a life time opportunity to play against one of the top teams in the land- imagine if they win how great they will feel….?
Very often we encounter situations that aren’t easy to deal with; whether it is personal issues, illness or worry- God has never promised to always make these things go away- he has however promised to be with us in those struggles and help us through! Think of something you have achieved that wasn’t easy- something you really had to work for- when you succeed how great is that feeling? When you face up to that challenge – whatever it maybe and get through it you will be blessed- There maybe something going on in your life right now that seems too much to bare, it maybe that you can’t see a way through it or are so uncertain about the outcome that everything seems hopeless. Well I want to encourage you that our Lord and saviour is bigger and stronger than any problem or situation. One of my favourite scriptures is John 16:33- “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
This scripture tells us that our Saviour has already overcome! We can be certain that he is with us and that although we can’t say he will make things easy for us we can take heart that he will give us the strength to get through the situation no matter hard we are finding it. I was reminded recently of the song by the Christian band ‘The Rend Collective’ called ‘My Lighthouse’. I would really encourage any of you who feel like you are in the midst of a storm or issue to check this song out on YouTube!
So this month if everything seems too hard and you don’t feel like you can get through the situation that you are in. Turn to the Lord and give it all to him in prayer- remember that when we are in the midst of the storm that Jesus is in the boat with us giving us the strength to carry on!