Soon it will be Christmas Day, and in nine days we will be at the start of a New Year. Lots to think about…
As you know, I have not had any supply teaching since June – and then I missed a job interview because I was ill. Another friend was also due to be at that interview- and she too pulled out because of illness.
She emailed me, about feeling at the end of the rope, but holding on. I joked that the trouble with having the flu was that it had left me too wobbly to tie a secure knot!
Then I remembered the motto of the college where our two husbands trained together for ministry around 30 years ago.
Et Teneo Et Teneor
There is a beautiful stained glass window at the College showing a hand holding a cross. The Latin motto can be translated
“I both hold and am held”
I have no idea what will happen in 2013. We’ve got to the end of the year solvent [just] – Bob still has the motorbike [awaiting a new shock absorber] and we have managed to find the mortgage payment every month.
I cannot explain how we have managed – other than by the grace of God, and the love of his people. But my trivial problems are just that, minuscule, in comparison with others…
There have been moments in the past few months when holding onto faith has not been easy because of what has been going on in our world…
- The whole Jimmy Savile thing, when men have thought it was OK to abuse children, and deny anything has happened, to protect reputations.
- The hoax phone call to a hospital- where ‘entertainment’ took precedence over the privacy and dignity of a young pregnant woman – and another innocent woman caught up in it all, one who lived by values of honesty and respect, was so distressed that she took her life.
- The awful murder, by a deranged gunman, of twenty little children and six adults who were at school preparing for Christmas – in a nation which believes both in the right to ‘the pursuit of happiness’ and ‘the right to bear arms’
- Nine young girls killed last Monday by a landmine in Afghanistan – triggered accidentally as they were collecting firewood for their families. "Most of those killed were aspiring engineers, doctors and teachers. Only four bodies can be recognised," said a tribal elder.
- Closer to home, one friend’s husband died suddenly and another friend has been diagnosed with a very serious cancer.
These awful, heart wrenching situations have frequently left me weeping for those affected, as they suffer indescribable grief. And these things cannot be brushed away with glib answers.
I cry out Why, Lord? – but as I struggle in these dark moments, I realise that I am not stumbling alone in the dark – His hand is holding mine so firmly, that even if my grip weakens, I will not slip.
“I both hold and am held”
When I get to the end of my rope, I find God is always there with me.