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[Guest Post] Standing on His promises…

20 Aug

What a crazy couple of weeks. The nation (and the world) watched in disbelief as horrifying scenes of rioting, looting and criminal damage filled our TV screens. We joined with thousands to pray for peace in our cities and for broken communities to be restored. The actions of all those involved in #riotcleanup encouraged us that there is  great power when a community works togetther, and that social networking can be used for good.

Closer to home we are acutely aware of a number of deaths, sicknesses or difficult situations that our friends, and friends of those we know, are currently facing. It’s certainly been a fortnight when we’ve repeatedly found ourselves praying for God’s peace, love, strength and comfort to be in abundance for many.

There is plenty of opinion – religious and secular – about why bad things happen. Fate, karma, pre-destination, poor government, evil people, religion, free will, bad luck (and, if you’re reading an article in the Daily Mail, ALL of these things!). Whatever explanation you want to give, the truth is, crap happens. For me, the important thing is to think about how we respond to the bad stuff. Are we people who say “Why me? Why do bad things happen to good people?”. I think that’s quite a common, and natural reaction. Mr Blunders will tell you that I’ve totally been one of those people – known to have said (shouted?!) “It’s not fair” not only as a small child, but as a 20-something woman!

One of my most favourite songs ever doesn’t attempt to answer the question “Why?”. Instead, Brooke Fraser (absolutely one of the best songwriters I have ever heard) points us towards the promises on which we can stand when all around us is shaking. Have a listen now (FLAGS) and then come back and read some more…

Come, tell me your trouble, I’m not your answer

But I’m a listening ear, Reality has left you reeling

All facts and no feeling, No faith and all fear

I don’t know why a good man will fall

While a wicked one stands And our lives blow about

Like flags on the land

Who’s at fault is not important

Good intentions lie dormant

And we’re all to blame

While apathy acts like an ally

My enemy and I are one and the same

I don’t know why the innocents fall

While the monsters still stand

And our lives blow about

Like flags on the land

I don’t know why our words are so proud

Yet their promise soothing

And our lives blow about

Like flags in the wind

You who mourn will be comforted

You who hunger will hunger no more

All the last shall be first

Of this I am sure

You who weep now will laugh again

All you lonely be lonely no more

Yes, the last will be first

Of this I’m sure

I don’t know why the innocents fall

While the monsters stand

I don’t know why the little ones thirst

But I know the last shall be first

I know the last shall be first

I know the last shall be first

I love the honesty of this song – that says: I don’t know why these things happen, but I there are truths of which I am certain, and those truths come directly from these words that Jesus spoke:

 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Matthew 5, 3-11 NIV

Some of you will have heard me talk about these verses before. It’s one of my favourite bits of the Bible, so I might sound like something of a broken record…please indulge me though! The reason I love these verses is because I think that at most times in our lives, however we are feeling, we fit into one of those catergories. In the good times and in the bad. In the times when we feel close to God and the times when God couldn’t feel further away. And the brilliant, encouraging thing is that whatever category we fall into, there is a promise to stand upon. God promises the grieving parents, who have to say goodbye to their tiny baby that they will be comforted. He promises the faithful ‘peacemakers’ involved in the aftermath of the riots that they will be called His children. He promises the teenager who is bullied at school because she is a Christian that she will be blessed and her reward in heaven will be great.

I mentioned in a previous post that being in relationship with God doesn’t automatically make life easy. And knowing these promises doesn’t mean that there won’t be hard stuff to face. Mr B’s last post (continue) was about actively pursuing Jesus and setting our minds on Him. Sometimes I think that when we’re in the middle of the tough times one of the hardest things to do is to make the decision to be active and to battle through. There’s a line from another Brooke Fraser song that I love which goes “I’m setting down this sadness and I won’t remember it”. More than once I sang that, at the top of my voice, with tears streaming down my face as I worried and wondered what to do with a little boy who wouldn’t eat, wasn’t gaining weight and seemed constantly unsettled. I determindly “set down my sadness” and resolved, not to forget it altogether, but to dwell on it no longer.

I’m not pretending this is easy. But ultimately I believe that there is no situation too big for God to pull me through. And you? Whatever you are going through right now, those promises are for you too.

I’ll leave you with this – just the last verse of this song (From the breaking of the dawn)

Hope that lifts me from despair, love that casts out ev’ry fear,

As I stand on ev’ry promise of Your Word.

Not forsaken, not alone, for the Comforter has come,

And I stand on ev’ry promise of Your Word.

Grace sufficient, grace for me, 

Grace for all who will believe―

We will stand on ev’ry promise of Your Word.

Big love

Mrs B

xxx

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