This week we celebrated our 32nd Anniversary. I shall be 64 in a few days’ time… therefore I have been married for half my lifetime. And that is good.
I have no wish to change things. I am deeply grateful to God for my life-partner who has contributed so much in so many ways. She has put up with my little quirks, my “interesting” sense of humour- and we have shared a faith that has grown through knowing each other.
Today’s photo seemed suitable for this reflection. It features a weather-beaten chunk of oak which is part of the breakwater here. Wind, waves, heat and cold have pounded it for YEARS. The very top of the post has split, and small stones are wedged in the gaps. Lichen is thriving on the flat top. It is strong and ready for longer service. The tides have not conquered the wood, although a few scars are testimony to the battle.
Our perspective of “Time” changes subjectively. It ticks along at the same actual speed; but in looking back, we find it hard to believe that so much time has passed by.
Inside, I still remain that slimmer and younger version of myself. Juliet, of course, is as radiantly beautiful as ever. Of course we have changed- and the scars and marks show if you know where to look. Memories come back: many good, some harder. The majority of people we have met and worked with have been great: and some of the most unassuming ones have life-stories that make the hair curl. Our job has been to act as a “breakwater” in defence of Christians in local churches. We have taken the shocks and weathered the storms- but never alone. Like the beach defences, we have been one part of a bigger and stronger structure, all supporting each other. It has been a true privilege.
I saw a quote the other day. “If your only prayer has been ‘Thank you’ that has been enough.”
That may be an over-simplification- none the less, I encourage you to look back and count up the people and experiences that make us truly grateful. There have been times where to see the Lord’s “Perfect Will” has been tricky. The gift of 100% hindsight has helped with that! (Afterwards.)
That’s the question, then. Are we truly grateful for what God has given? Have we noticed all the gifts that God has given?
1 John 1:5-7 (NLT2)
5 This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all.
6 So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth.
7 But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin.
1 John 2:7-8 (NLT2)
7 Dear friends, I am not writing a new commandment for you; rather it is an old one you have had from the very beginning. This old commandment—to love one another—is the same message you heard before.
8 Yet it is also new. Jesus lived the truth of this commandment, and you also are living it. For the darkness is disappearing, and the true light is already shining.