Sunday, 3 February 2013

The rollercoaster and the jug

Recently I have been reminded, by others and myself, that our Christian life is a journey. We journey with God, through life. But journeys aren't always simple and straight forward. There are times when we get complacent and forget to give, or look at the directions. We miss a turning, or go the wrong way. Maybe we forget something that is crucial to our journey, like bringing your passport with you. Then there are the things that really are not our fault; the weather, or your vehicle breaking down. And just as these things delay, postpone or cancel our physical journeys, things get in the way of our spiritual journey too.

A couple of Christian based training courses I have done have encouraged me to reflect on the journey that I've travelled so far. One way of doing this is to plot on a graph the high points and low points in our journey. Then you do a dot-to-dot and you have a graph of your life's journey. When you stand back and look at what you've created, you may be forgiven for thinking you've just created the next adrenaline inducing rollercoaster ride. Or that is certainly what I thought looking at mine.

Life isn't always easy, and just because I have actively decided to follow Christ doesn't mean that my life instantly gets easier. When I look at my life graph, it doesn't start to level out at the point I became a Christian - Wouldn't it be great if it did! In fact I think we are constantly reminded that Jesus never said life would be easy with him. Just that it would be worth it!

As you stand in the queue at a theme park to ride a rollercoaster, you experience all sorts of feelings and emotions. Fear, excitement, anticipation. But I know that afterwards I'll be filled with a rush of adrenaline. And that is what makes me queue for the next ride.

It takes a lot of trust to ride a rollercoaster. Particularly one that will put you upside down. You have to trust that you'll stay safely in your seat, and that the train will stay on the track as it hurtles round at breakneck speeds. You have to trust that you won't hit anything as you fly around the track.

Sometimes trust is something that is difficult. I'm often reminded by friends that I need to trust in God more. Accept that by putting my life in His hands will produce great results. But I confess that I find it difficult. Just recently I've felt myself drift away from God. If I were to plot this on my graph, it would definitely be the bottom of a trough. It is at these times that we should trust God the most, but I find myself withdrawing even more. I find myself trying to take back control of things.

It is at these times that I am so grateful for the Church community. When we are running on empty, have nothing more to give, the good news is never far away - God gives free refills! I was sharing this analogy with a friend just recently. We all have a jug within us, and as we travel our journey we are constantly pouring out the contents of that jug, because that is what God calls us to do. But when we run low, there is an everlasting tap to refill us - God.

I tried to write this blog a couple of times, but it is only now that I've been refilled that I have felt able to. The truth is, I've felt like I haven't had anything in my jug to pour out, I've not felt close enough to the tap to be refilled. And so it has been tough for me to truly live the life God wanted me to. And that isn't easy to realise.

Something that has kept me sane through my Christian journey has been the words from 'Footprints.' These are really what a large part of my faith hinges on.
 "When you see only one set of footprints, that was when I carried you"
(Footprints - Anon.)

I was reminded of this in the most visual way this morning at church. A small baby wasn't feeling too well, and just snuggled into his mum for cuddles. When we aren't feeling great, just like a small child, we snuggle into the protective arms of God. It is such an instinctive reaction, we don't always realise we are doing it. Even when we feeling like we are walking away from God, he is there holding us close.

"And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age"
Matthew 28:20

Loving Father,
Thank you for always walking with us, even when we think you aren't there.
Thank you for constantly refreshing us, and carrying us when we are too weak.
Help me to always trust you, and to strengthen our relationship.
Help me to know you more, share you more, and serve you.
Father God, you are the best, too awesome for words. You have an incomprehensible love for me, that I do not deserve.
When I fall, you pick me up.
When I demand too much, you sort something out.
I am thankful for your company on my journey, and the wonderful creations you have in store for me.
Thank you.

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