Wow, what a year it has been. My wife passed her driving test, I got told I don’t have cancer, I went the the XCEL men’s conference, and we sponsored a second child in Kenya. Career-wise I’ve worked as a Principal Designer on the biggest Mosque in Britain (yes Christians help people that don’t yet know Jesus also to have a nice place to meet – love thy neighbour… who is my neighbour?…). I have also worked on the biggest school ever built in our county, and on the largest project University of Cambridge have ever built (£1.2 billion). My wife and I attended some lovely functions including Cambridge Architecture Awards, the LuvEly winter ball and a lovely party with my colleagues at the Grad-pad in Cambridge. Christmas day this year (yesterday) was spent with my family and it was so lovely. We presented my wife with her Christmas gift, her very first car and course it had to be the car of her dreams, a Smart car. There have also been some awful challenges and fights, with cancer attacking many friends. Two have had the fight of their lives and beat it, two are in the fight of their lives against it now, another one is waiting to hear if he has it, and I was just told I do not have it. We just keep praying and hoping and trusting the Lord. Faith is the substance of things hoped for. It has been a roller coaster of a year, but this Christmas has been a real high note.
Here’s a thing. I never in my wildest dreams imagined I would do the things I have done since Jesus took me from my old life. In 2017 I am living a life that I could not have dared dream for. I am married to the girl of my dreams and she is the best wife I could ever ever imagine, I have a fabulous job that I always wanted, working with architects on building design, we are sponsoring children in Africa and that feels so good, and I just bought my wife a brand new car. Five years ago none of these things were even in my mind. I had a hum-drum job that did’t pay so well, an appalling wrong relationship and the girl I was one day going to marry I had not then last seen since nearly 40 years.
God’s grace took me and put me in a place that I could not have foreseen or hoped for. Part of me never quite stops being amazed and asking the reason, but grace really has no reason except love, and love knows no reason as to where it lands, being a bird of the heart not the head.
Right now you may be in a hard place where you have forgotten to even dare to have dreams of anything different that the life you know, or awful health or financial issues are devastating you or those you love, but I now know from experience that He can change all of it in a second, and sometimes He does just that. Not only in your lifestyle and relationships, but in your health and the health of your friends. DO NOT GIVE UP HOPE. DO NOT STOP BELIEVING. There are miracles, healings, breakthroughs, reconciliations. Jesus does save lives, and He does love you. Remember Lazarus – even when hope seems irretrievably lost, yet Jesus can even rebuke death itself. He makes a way where there is no way. The Bible says: Romans 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” and Acts 2:21 “And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
The timings and reasons of the Lord are not fathomable to us, but we can start to understand a little if we study His Word and try to follow his teaching. Ecclesiastes 9:3-5 teaches us that where there is life there is hope. So if you are in a hard place, call upon Jesus. Have the faith to ask. Do not be afraid of asking in case you are not answered. The evil one wants you to stay silent for fear of not being answered. Do not give in to fear of rejection, for you have nothing to fear except fear itself. The story of the prodigal son tells you that the father will not reject the child, regardless of what the child has done. So do not be duped by the devil’s deception, for deception is all he has. Call upon Jesus, put on the full armour of God, fill yourself with the Holy Spirit and stand, and when you can do nothing more, yet stand.
Jesus gently prompted me out of an old sinful life of which I had truly had enough, He made a way for me and I chose to follow Him, not knowing where it would lead, but just feeling comfortable that it was the the right path. Matthew 6:33 says “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” That’s the closest I can come to understanding how and why He put so much blessing into my life.
As far as I can see I do not deserve this, but He in His grace and love and generosity has said it’s OK, take these gifts simply because I want you to have them. When you feel blessed, you start to want to bless others. Jesus lights a fire of love in your heart, and so here’s what I have learned yet more deeply this Christmas: It is far better to give than to receive. The pleasure of knowing I am helping to give children a hope and a future in a poor country far away, or of giving food and gifts to the poor in my own town as our church did, or of making my wife’s dream of a owning a car come true – these things fill me with a so much joy so I have literally walked along dancing.
Perhaps Jesus feels that sort of joy when He helps us in grace. Perhaps when we accept Him as real and enter into true friendship and relationship with Him, and through Him with all mankind and His creation, He feels such joy. If so, then I maybe I am starting to learn after all, why he extends grace to those that do not yet deserve it. Because He stands outside of time, He does not only see the people that we are, He sees the people that we can become for Him if we choose to accept fully His gift, which ultimately is the gift of His very own life itself, given freely for us, even though we did not deserve it.
May the Lord bless you, and keep you, and make His face to shine upon you – Numbers 6:24-26. Amen.
There are a couple of nice music vids at the foot of this post. Enjoy.