N.B. I guess it is in the darkness that the stars shine their brightest. I attempt here to lay down the things that I have been clinging to this week.
Last week I attended the celebration service of Robin Bose, who was a dear husband, father, uncle, brother and son to some very amazing people. The service was a beautiful tribute to someone who lived life to the full, grasping each moment as precious and leaving a legacy that will be held dear in many years to come. As members of his family spoke about what they remember him for, and shared the dear memories they had of Robin, I found myself connecting with their pain and sharing in their grief; and even though I did not have the privilege of knowing Robin personally, I was greatly affected by his attitude and spirit for life that was so apparent through their words.
I was inspired by his faithfulness to God, despite impending suffering and a realisation of death, his fighting determination to believe in his ultimate reward in heaven, no matter what troubles he would encounter here on earth. His favourite psalm was Psalm 116, a song of praise about God saving someone from their desperate place of suffering. To read those words, in the light of knowing Robin’s story, was amazing. What a testament to one man’s faithfulness to God!
We all experience hard times. None of us are exempt from suffering, it has no favourites. It affects the richest and the poorest, the foreigner and the native, the free man and the slave, the old and the young. But each of us has a choice in our times of trial. In those darkest nights, do we keep our heads down and lurk amongst the shadows. Or do we turn our faces skyward, and look for the stars? If you have ever had the patience and the endurance to lay out under the vast blanket of darkness and wait for your eyes to adjust, you may have seen a shooting star. They are not common, but they are ultimately beautiful, lasting only a few seconds, and yet they shine brighter than all the other stars.
When we experience difficult times, there will be people around us who will be affected by the way we choose to deal with things. There are people in our lives who look to us, who learn from us, as we do from them. We are all affected by the people in our lives who we are close to us, and some of us are affected by people who don’t even know our name. I love the Orange adverts that talk about the different people in someone’s life that have made them the person they are today. There are many people in my life that I have paid tribute to. Some know what they have meant to me, some don’t, and some never will. Some of those people are my close friends and family, some are people I have met. A select few are people, like Robin, whose time in my life lasted only a few seconds. And yet, they are sometimes the people who shine the brightest.
And one of those people is Jesus. He was someone who cared so much to be in my life, that he gave his own. When I read Psalm 116 now, it means so much more to be, because of the memory of Robin that lives on in my mind. And it inspires me to look up, and to see where my hope lies. God is good. Can you see it?
No matter what we’ve been through in our past, it is a testament to God’s faithfulness that we are here. We have made it to this moment, this time. No matter how fleeting our experience with God may have been, He wants to meet us in this moment. He wants to uphold us in his love. He wants to forgive us of the things we have done wrong. He wants to shower us with love and mercy. He wants to lavish his grace upon us. He wants to dry our tears and heal our wounds. We just need to have the patience and the endurance to lay out beneath the vast blanket of darkness and allow our eyes to adjust. The shooting stars are there.