The Platinum Jubilee was quite a weekend. We were all reminded of the Queen’s loyalty to God and the nation over these last 70 years at the Platinum Jubilee celebrations. That’s a long while! She has served faithfully and, even when she has faced her challenges, she has been unwavering. I believe there is a reason for this to which we will return.
A submarine was being tested and had to remain submerged for many hours. When it returned to the harbour, the captain was asked, “How did the terrible storm last night affect you?” The officer looked at him in surprise, “Storm? We didn’t even know there was one!” The sub had been so far beneath the surface that it had reached the area known to sailors as ‘the cushion of the sea’. Although the ocean may be whipped into huge waves by high winds, the waters are never stirred in this area.
Over the years I have written many articles for the Halesworth Community News and the church website, and a constant theme has been running through them all. Yes, the value of virtues such as kindness and determination and many others have all been present, but another theme undergirds them all. We have written about the need to build deep foundations to our lives so that, when the storms rage, all is not destroyed. We have considered the fact that Man’s best endeavours are not sufficient. We are not God, but we need Him. It isn’t about digging deeper into human resources but letting the insecurities and pain of our struggles drive us into the ‘cushion of the sea’, into the heart of the God who loves us.
As C. S. Lewis put it, “We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
When pain and struggles expose our fears and insecurities, it is easy to shout back at Him in anger rather than hearing the truth that He wants to walk with us through those dark times. That is the good news – He is not yet removing the unpleasant things of life but wanting to lead us to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ so we experience His loving presence as He walks with us in all our circumstances.
The Queen has borne the burden of seventy years of public duty and responsibility. Recently, the loss of her beloved husband and internal struggles within her own family will have brought their own deeply felt pain and grief. In 2002 she said, “I know just how much I rely on my faith to guide me through the good times and the bad.” Those words were not pious words about a vague faith that sits in the background. It was, and is, her foundation. It has been said of her that she possessed a ‘deep vibrancy of her faith’.
For the last two years I have faced my own challenge, having received a diagnosis of cancer. Because I have known His presence with me for over seventy years of my life, to go to be with Him is like going to the home of the One who loves you more than anyone else possibly could. I do not fear death. For me, it is the doorway into His permanent, abiding presence. At the age of nine, I simply asked Jesus Christ into my life to be my Lord and Saviour – and He came in and has walked with me ever since. I would not change that for all the treasure of this world and, if the challenges of life take me closer to Him, then so be it. In what may well be my final article for the newspaper, I close by saying that my deepest prayer for all who read these words is that they too will come to know Jesus Christ as the Foundation of their lives, the Faithful One who will never disappoint you and never leave you or forsake you. He stands at the door of your life and knocks, but the door handle is only on the inside; you alone can let Him in.