On Sunday Tim spoke about the death of Lazarus and one of the points he drew from the account in John’s gospel was Jesus’ reaction to Mary and Martha. He didn’t rebuke them for their response to their brother’s death, even though he knew he was there to raise Lazarus. Rather his spirit was troubled, and he wept with them. Jesus gives us permission to be real about what we feel, but we must also remember that what we feel isn’t the final story. Towards the end of the meeting Cathy shared a practical example of bringing unsettled feelings to the Lord and experiencing his love and peace.
I found it a very encouraging meeting and a reminder of one of the most important lessons I’ve learnt during lockdown and our Zoom church meetings – that I am OK, and that God loves me and wants to spend time with me. I’ve always struggled with feelings of not being good enough and of being a disappointment to God and, although I’ve understood the roots of these feelings, which lie in a mixture of nature and nurture, it’s during the past few months that they have started to change.
During lockdown I read ‘How to pray’ by Pete Greig and read the following words “What if the hour you spend in the prayer room is when you refocus on Jesus so that you can carry his presence with you into the other 23 hours of the day with a heightened awareness that he is with you, he is for you, that he likes you, that he hears your thoughts?” Those words brought a revelation that the way God views me is so very different to how I’ve always viewed myself and my prayer life has radically changed as a result. This message was reiterated by the words of my birthday verse, Zephaniah 3:17: “For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty Saviour. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” I was reminded of these words again on Sunday and the importance of holding onto what the Lord says to us and teaches us as we journey with him, and to not let these important lessons get lost in the busyness and challenges of life. As we move forward into the next stage of our church life let’s be encouraged to remember what the Lord has shown us during lockdowns and take these important lessons forward with us.
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