May 11th 2020
As I write, our Prime Minister has issued some new advice, and everyone is now busy trying to work out how to put it into practice. Am I the only person reminded of the old hymn – "Through all the changing scenes of life...."?
Its important, I think, to remember the whole verse:
Through all the changing scenes of life, in trouble, and in joy,
the praises of my God shall still
my heart and tongue employ.
Its easy to grumble about the upheaval, and the things that we can't do – but we need to hang on to the knowledge that although the world changes, God doesn't. God is still God, still good, still loving, still working to bring healing and hope. God is here with us, strengthening and upholding, and guiding us through uncertain times.
It is tempting to imagine that one day soon, everything will quickly return to normal, and we'll instantly be able to undo all the restrictions that we've had to live with. You don't need me to tell you how risky that would be – or how tempting! Whatever we do next needs to be guided by love for our friends and neighbours.
Rather than rushing back to the way things were, perhaps we need to pause, and think about the things that are worth returning to; the things that are good and valuable. Maybe you won't want your life to go back to quite the way it was, but keep some of the changes.
Change happens, and we can't always know what is going to happen, or when. The hymn writer urges us to recognise that through it all, the love of God is constant, and to rely on that. The final verse of that hymn says,
Fear him, ye saints, and you will then have nothing else to fear.
Make you his service your delight – your wants shall be his care.
Focus on serving God faithfully, and God will take care of the things that you need. We actually need surprisingly little. Shelter, food, warmth, love, and a sense of purpose. When our lives are grounded in the love of God, and we have all we need, then we can praise God for his blessings – even in uncertain and difficult circumstances.
With much love, and prayers that you will continue to be blessed by God's presence.