The September issue of the Parish Magazine is now available from Church. This is Jackie’s lead article from this month’s edition.
Several years ago I was having lunch with my then 13 year old grandson. I asked him if he was looking forward to the arrival of his baby brother or sister. ‘I can’t wait’ was his reply. (It turned out to be a brother!)
How good are you at waiting? Throughout our lives we often find ourselves ‘waiting’. It can sometimes be in excitement to birthdays, Christmas (especially for children!), holidays, wedding day. Conversely it can be with trepidation perhaps to exams, a new school, an operation.
When I was younger, I would listen to older people looking back with nostalgia on the ‘good old days’. I confess that I sometimes find myself doing this now. At other times we can look back perhaps with regret saying: ’if I had my time again I would …’
If we spend much of our time either looking back or looking forward we may well miss the present. Another confession – I sometimes wake up and if I am not feeling too well which is quite often the case in the mornings I find myself thinking: ‘another day to get through’. The Lord has needed to show me that this is not in agreement with His desire for me. He has shown me that it His desire that I live my life in the ‘present in His Presence’.
In our Morning Worship liturgy we can say at the beginning: ‘This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it’. And later on: ‘As we rejoice in the gift of this new day, so may the light of Your Presence, O God, set our hearts on fire with love for You.’
It isn’t always easy to welcome each day with this attitude especially if we are in pain or worried or depressed or grieving and each day can indeed feel like another one to get through. Sometimes it’s as if we need to hang on in desperation.
The lovely picture of ‘the footsteps in the sand’ may bring comfort and remind us that God promised never to leave nor forsake us. It also good to remember that Jesus taught His disciples to pray ‘Give us today our daily bread’ as part of the Lord’s prayer. I find it helpful to paraphrase this as: ‘Give me what I need for the next 24 hours’.
St Paul went through many very difficult trials and tribulations and longed to be released into heaven but he knew that he still had God’s purpose for him to fulfil on earth and it was his goal to please God in each day. (2 Corinthians 5:8,9)
We too can look forward to heaven, look back thankfully for His past blessings but live each day in His presence for God is with us each step of the way. Jackie Long