God’s great faithfulness
‘I don’t want to go’. That is what I said about Sunday school when I was a child. Even so, I went along regularly. I frequently find myself singing, humming or whistling one of the songs I learnt there.
The words come so comfortably into my mind: ‘Jesus loves me this I know’; ‘If you’re happy and you know it…’
I recall Bible stories about Joshua, fearless warrior; David, shepherd boy to king; Jairus’ daughter. I am able to recite the Ten Commandments and other Bible verses, all committed to memory long ago. These have been a yardstick and basis on which I have been moulded.
‘I am too old now for the church youth group!’
That is what I said in my teens as I was drawn into the excitement and rebellion of ‘the 1970s, when young people ruled the world OK’ — it is still the cry of young people now!
I attended youth group for many years and look back with affection on those days, my teens and twenties, when friends and church members were prepared to stick their neck out and challenge my waywardness and attitudes.
I remember my ‘old’ minister Mr Davies, who was like a grandfather to us all (he always shook my hand!). I can’t forget Scriptures that burned into my conscience, challenging my ways and motives. Neither should I.
Although I resented it at the time I am thankful now for the sound advice, encouragement and guidance I received as I navigated that most dangerous minefield of adolescence.
I recall fun times at camps, BBQs with good friends, my husband to be. I became a Christian on a summer camp asking God to help me live my life.
‘I won’t go today, I am tired’
That is what I often said about Sunday services when I was a young wife and mum, struggling with the stresses of life. My marriage of 34 years has been happy, but not without problems and strife.
Difficulties taxed us individually and as a family, causing us to call on all the resources we could muster. Although often tired and weary, I am grateful for the many blessings we received.
Jesus said we should cast our burdens on him, for his ‘yoke’ is light. He has helped me when the going has got tough.
‘I can’t go today, I don’t feel too good’
That was what I said when I was ill and the effort to go anywhere was too great, even church on a Sunday.
Treatment for breast cancer was taking its toll and I was lost in days that were dark. My future was uncertain and the pendulum of thoughts wore me out. At church, songs with deep, meaningful words touched my heart, reviving my soul, enabling me to take tomorrow as it came.
Words of Scripture spoke into my situation, lifting my Spirit: ‘Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord’ (Psalm 27:14); ‘come to me all who are weak and heavy laden and I will give you rest’.
At such times, I knew Jesus was carrying me, giving strength when I had little of my own. God had his plans for my life and future.
Jesus said, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you’. I recognised this when I was an enquiring child; I recognised it when I was a rebellious teenager; I recognised it when I was a busy wife and mother; I recognised it when in illness.
God’s strength is displayed at times of my weakness and he has shown me again and again that when I can’t, won’t or don’t want to, he has, does and will show his love to me, again and again, through his care, his Son, his people.