As we look back over the past year no doubt there are many things that have happened in our lives that were unexpected, some for the better and some for the worse. Learning to cope with these changes and disappointments is all part of the journey that I guess we call life. We can look at life as a series of random events or we can look deeper and try and join some of the events up into a route that may help us make sense of the journey we are all embarked upon.
Yet some things seem to be chaotic and terrifying and have no sense or purpose to them. This year we have experienced the shock of the helicopter crash in Glasgow, or the senseless killings of hundreds of people through suicide bomb attacks in a shopping mall in Kenya, or the bombing of the train station in Russia. Over the years I’ve had people say. ” So where was God when I cried out to him. He never answered my prayers.” I’ve learned to live with questioning God. I hesitate to give glib answers. The bible is not afraid to listen to and record these same question. Indeed the psalmist often encourages us to cry out to God in anger - Oh God you’ve let me down.
What I have come to realise is that going through the darkness is the place where God turns up. King David knew this when he spoke of encountering God in the darkest night, in the ‘valley of the shadow of death” At the beginning of 2014 I would like to leave you with a verse from the Bible that I learned as a young boy and it has never left me.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go . Joshua 1.9
It has given me courage to believe that the dots of my life are joined up. It has helped me believe that God has a purpose and a plan in the midst of all the turmoil and distress that we all encounter from time to time.
It can be such a difficult time of the year. The temptation is to play safe and let others take the chances. To stop believing that life can be full of promise and hope. To keep your head down and not be tempted to reach out and attempt the impossible.
I believe God is the God of the impossible. He invites us to dream big dreams bigger than we can ever imagine ourselves then we know that when it comes to pass it is all the work of God.