This year I celebrate the privilege of serving Stroud Christian fellowship as Pastor for 20 years, and every one of those years I have written for this newspaper.
These contributions, sometimes humorous, often seasonal or about the challenges or changes in my own growing family, the weather or world events have reflected how all these things impact my own life and how I live.
All have been grounded in my faith.
Of course I have tended to write about the positive experiences, those that have encouraged or exhilarated, the milestone moments – the problem with this is that it can look like life is a series of ‘highlights’ – like a trailer for a movie – you get to see all the good bits; and of course life isn’t like that all the time.
What about the periods in between?
What about the dark times, the times when life just goes on (and on!), when life is hard, or sickness or grief overwhelm, or we feel perplexed, angry, isolated, misunderstood, guilty or ashamed?
In his book to the Romans the apostle Paul ends Chapter 8 with these verses:
‘Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?…
…no, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ, Jesus our Lord.’
As a follower of Christ for more than 40 years I have found these words to be true.
The God who loves me and cares for me and knows me better than I know myself, never promised me an easy life, but he did promise he would walk alongside me every step.
If you feel your life feels more like the ‘out-takes’ than the ‘highlights’ of your own movie then why not look to Jesus, and know for yourself his generous, unconditional love that changes everything.
I leave you with this promise.
“…for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”