Still on the theme of pressing the pause button as we come out of lockdown. (My life is generally in transition right now and it may be a lot easier for me to pause than for many readers.)
How has pausing impacted me? Today we paused to chat with our local park keeper. He pointed out high up in a tree, a green woodpecker’s nest. Just a perfectly round hole of course, but she was there, busy searching out breakfast of grubs and insects for hungry babies. We paused to say hello to a lovely lady; she’d put her back out possibly because her son’s in a wheelchair and needs help in all sorts of ways. Other pauses this week involved listening to the story of a man who has been waiting far too long for cancer treatment, another in the middle of particularly harsh chemo, and not complaining.
This is just the tip of the iceberg; almost everyone I meet is struggling with tough issues in their lives. What strikes me is that those I mentioned are just ordinary people, but they display immense courage every day with great fortitude. They find daily strength in God to face these difficulties. How they’d manage otherwise I can’t begin to imagine. How would I manage?
I wonder how many of us are struggling just now, overwhelmed with life changing issues.
Being a bear of small brain I turn now and again to C S Lewis’s Narnia stories for encouragement and inspiration. In the Voyage of the Dawn Treader we find Lucy at an end of herself, seeing no way out, slipping into fear and despair. She calls out, ‘Aslan, Aslan, if ever you loved us at all, send us help now’. The darkness did not grown any less, but she began to feel a little – a very very little – better.
As she looked up she saw a tiny speck of light. At first it looked like a cross, then a plane, then a kite; at last with a whirring of wings it was right overhead and was an albatross. It called out in a strong sweet voice what seemed to be words, though no one understood them, except Lucy. As it circled the mast it had whispered to her, Courage, dear heart’, and the voice she felt sure was Aslan’s, and with the voice a delicious smell breathed in her face. I love these words so much. Because I need to hear those words, “courage, dear heart…”
Like Lucy, sometimes in our extremity all we can do is cry out to Jesus, “if you ever loved me at all, send help now…”
The darkness may not fade away, but we do feel a little – a very, very little – better… we know that in the end, the darkness will not overcome the Light. And I know the Light is with us, even when we can’t see Him for the darkness.
Whatever struggles you face right now, hear him whisper to you, “Courage, dear heart.”
A prayer for courage
Lord, may your strength and courage flow into our lives and the lives of those we name before you now, who have been finding this last year a great mountain to climb. May your light flow into our hearts driving out despair and darkness and increasing our sense of your eternal abiding presence. We thank you for the mighty promise that you will never leave or forsake us.