A Thought For February
“God’s strength in your weakness is His presence in your life” A. Stanley.
I’ve just been reading about an American Air Force surgeon in Iraq. It’s very moving, very humbling to read about how he deals with the traumas of daily surgery on horrifically wounded soldiers and Iraqis. But even worse are the traumas of the silence of his room and his own thoughts. For people of faith one of the challenges of the lockdown is house bound isolation and also living on top of each other. For families there are anxieties of home schooling and economic pressures. Like the surgeon in my book some have to deal with the frantic pace or the enforced seclusion and then living together as in a fish bowl. Can we then be surprised about the upturn in divorce, abuse and more addictions? These are very stressful days. Be clear, I’m not making excuses for people harming others. Lockdown is, for many people, soul destroying. In these situations we pray prayers from the heart or from exasperation of life or from fear and pain, not from beautiful worship in an aesthetic setting. Our prayers at this time are much akin to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemine. Like Jesus we must try to hold onto our faith. Like I was telling the children this week in a zoom assembly, as members of God’s family we must be kind, honest and open to each other. It’s very difficult advice but the saintly Billy Graham, said. “Don’t let circumstances distress you. Rather, look for the will of God for your life to be revealed in and through those circumstances.” Today, we have many heroes, many saints and special people to inspire us to acts of kindness, generosity and love – nurses, cleaners, doctors, post office workers, care workers etc. The church has always been inspired both by people of the past and people of this present age. Think for a moment, are we as courageous as the people I’ve mentioned. Can we have the love, humility and care of a Covid nurse? Imagine washing a patient who can do nothing for themselves. I’ve been on both ends of this image. It’s a privilege to care for the sick but in the role of a sick person we have to allow others to minister to us. In your daily life I pray that you have the good grace to serve and be served. Max Lucero said, “I simply think God is greater than our weakness. In fact I think it is our weaknesses that reveals how great God is.” Sadly at times, like during this pandemic, some people think with some resentment that it’s very easy for Christians to deal with life. But I’m a Christian not because I’ve got everything sorted, not because I know all the answers but because I’m so often weak and I need Jesus Christ as my saviour. I’d say that this is the truth for many Christians or people of faith. So whether we believe in God or not, may we accept our weaknesses and so serve each other with love. All human beings are very precious and deserve love and respect, for we never know the pain of other people. Like the surgeon at the beginning of my thought we are maybe carrying a lot of things in our hearts, minds and bodies.
Dear friends, I pray that you keep safe and well. Everyday you’ll be in my thoughts and prayers.
Stephen Monk (Revd)