It’s the last day of the holidays, August has been spent, not in an office in Hove, but in the worlds of Reading, Belfast, the Lake District, our car and Brighton. We ended July in varying states of mentalness and tiredness. We wanted a nicely planned out rest programme, designed for maximum enjoyment and refreshment the way we would plan refreshment.
We didn’t get it.
Life has a funny way of getting in the way at times, plans were rearranged, holidays put on hold, other holiday moments found and our August was a different affair altogether. If we’d have known that at the end of July we might have run for the hills. As it was we dealt with it, we lived through some hard stuff and hard stuff is still ongoing in areas of our lives. There isn’t a nice cosy escape world from the pain of this life. There isn’t a perfect green pasture to lie down this side of the world to come. There isn’t a desert island to plan perfect romantic moments on, where perfect communication will happen. We live in a world full of brokenness, we are broken people. More and more I need it beaten into my strangely stubborn head that the perfect moments I ache for are signs of a world to come where there will be no more tears, no more pain, no more sadness.
Until then we rightly take holidays to rest from the normal routines of life, to breathe different air and to sleep. We don’t, however, take them to provide us with what we need to keep walking. That comes from one source only. The Maker. We learnt, and more of this later, that rest comes from Him. We were reminded that God is our strength and refuge, not our plans, not certain places, not even certain people. Firstly our rest comes from Him. We didn’t have the summer we planned but we had the summer we were given. We struggled to love each other, to love the people around us and to love God. We cried out to our God for help and He answered. We carried on breathing, living and loving in circumstances that we did not choose.
That’s what we are called to in this life, in this world. To keep walking, to keep going despite not being in control. We are called to take the hand of the one who walks with us into valleys of shadow and death and trust that He knows the way forward, that he really is able to do immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine and has actual power to strengthen us when all other strength has gone.
Tomorrow we get back into routine, we will go to work, we will eat, sleep and talk, life will take on shape again. It will be messy at times, we will sing and dance at times, life will carry on, we will call out to God for help, in praise, in joy, in sorrow, we will forget to do all those things and need to be reminded again that He is real and we are walking together with Him.
In short, we carry on. Things don’t work out as we’ve planned in this life and that’s OK (Meaning- it’s OK after you’ve cried, screamed, wrestled with giving up plans you had and stamped around a bit. When you’ve generally been frustrated over things either not going your way or lamented the real pain involved in amazing plans not working out and then are called into the arms of a loving father who holds you whilst you cry) Our God is with us in the pain and frustration of plans not working out and that makes it OK. The brilliant/hopeful/scary/frustrating at times/fall on your knees in awe thing is that our lives are in the hands of someone bigger than our plans.