The Lords grandeur is still evident when there is no sight of the sun. The clouds sometimes come together to look like there is turmoil in the sky.
The day started with glorious sunshine, I went to my local church were the sermon was on staying with Jesus through turmoil – as the sermon was based on John 6:56-69
The words that really got me in the reading was verses 68-69
But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life.
Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ,
the Son of the living God.”
There is turmoil in the sky and we have a tendency to keep to what is comfortable. We can attend church and go through the motions, we can perform the run of the mill jobs. But will we really step out for Jesus? In times of trouble will we cast accusations towards our God or will we just shrink away like many of the disciples in the passage?
The problem that many face with stepping out for Jesus, or so I feel from personal experience, is that they will not do it on their own. Walking around town and just trying to bump into people to talk with them and pray for them was a wonderful idea, but until a friend suggested doing it with me, I really could not pluck up the courage. We need people of good Christian morals around us to help us to walk forward in our faith, and we need to be talking about our faith and exploring it in depth.
Jesus always sent the disciples out two by two;
Sending Out the Twelve
7 And He called the twelve to Himself, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits.
And in their pairs they had power to change lives. We two need to work in groups, or at least have a buddy who we can turn too and who we can rely on to watch our back.
When I spent some time in the army, I learnt some important ways of patrolling an area where you would work in pairs. When you camped you would dig a hole and one person was always alert and on watch, the other could rest and then you would swap over. If you had to move quickly and you left behind an important piece of equipment then everybody suffers.
In my youth I was lonely quite often. But one occasion I felt desperate and that I was being punished by God. I came up with the idea that if I punished myself then God would take the pain that I felt away. I feel this is why many turn to self harm, they feel they are in control and can punish themselves.
I remember writing much poetry about this pain, all of this was lost. But I have vivid memories of that pain, the loneliness that I could not share any of my thoughts with anyone because they would feel that I was crazy. So I hatched a plan to go on a walk of a huge distance and that I would push myself extremely hard. I didn’t realise that I could turn to Jesus back then, it was almost like I had been blinded by my upbringing. Growing up as a catholic I knew I could pray to Mary, but it never occurred to me to actually pray to Jesus. God must have been listening to my plans because he sent a friend along to endure this pain along with me – we both ended up having blisters the whole size of our feet, and it took us a good week to walk properly again.
This week I have been reminded about the importance of friendships and how we should not be lazy. Even if we feel we are making all the effort we should maintain friendships because we don’t know when we will need those friendships to help us out.
Also building the roof of the medieval mud hut, I found that the frame was strong but at other points it was weak. I was preparing it for a roof of soil to plant grass and wild flowers. I found that when I bound the weaker sticks to the stronger stick at every point that they crossed, then the whole structure as a whole became very strong. Even when creating mud walls, I have found that they just collapse if you don’t put some grass, or hair, or straw to help the mud bind together. We need to be bound to a church so like minded friends can help each other when we are feeling weak.
Praying to Jesus alone in my room where I can not distracted is one of the most precious moments of each day. It is when I put on my armour and sharpen my sword. But we also need to find that soul mate whom we can discuss our problems, our hopes, our fears, and who can be a rock that we can lean on to fight against the turmoil in the clouds ahead. When the disciples ask to whom should we go, I feel tonight Jesus has answered with “to whom do you go, whom will watch your back”. Jesus is there for us all alone, but we must also seek to work in pairs and friendships so that we are not complacent and are open to attack from the enemy from behind.
Dear Lord, help us all to maintain and renew friendships with the people around us, but also with other Christians so that we shall be strong and not leave our back open to attack from the enemy. Help us through adversity and strengthen our resolve to walk proudly even through pain in your name.