So the summer is half way through, and the usual hustle and bustle of the term time regime has been replaced with a blessedly softer rhythm… Sunshine days and not-so-sunshine days have been filled with den building and baking and friends over and days out; and most recently with helping at a local music and skate festival here in Cornwall called Creation Fest.
For 6 days, the agricultural showground here in sleepy ol’ Wadebridge is transformed into a festival site. The largest indoor skate ramp in the south west is erected in days and teems with local skate kids watching pro demos and chancing their arm with tricks that make my hair stand on end.
The big shed, normally filled with prize winning cattle and agricultural machinery, is draped and hung with lights by a hundred unseen volunteers, and filled nightly with thousands of people watching bands from all over the world. People jump and confetti guns explode and Jesus is glorified.
And I sit at the back on the last morning and listen to a new friend preach the word that God has given to her, filled with grace and love and passion and insight.
It crosses my mind that there are some things that should never happen. Some things that should just never be. Some things, with the best will in the world, are just. Too. Hard. Too difficult. Too costly.
There are plenty of things in my own life that are like that. Things that are good ideas, or noble principles or great dreams, but that in reality were never going to be. Things that seem just too hard. Too difficult. Too costly. So many that I can’t even begin to put them down on paper here. Some big, some small. Perhaps there are things in your life that are like that too.
Sometimes I wonder just how long and hard I am going to have to try and wrestle with those things. How long will I have to deal with unforgiveness in my heart? With thinking bad thoughts first before the good? How long will I struggle with not seeing myself as God sees me, worrying about my position and what other people think? When will I stop doubting and really, fully trust? At what point will I be able to properly work out where God wants me to be, to discern his will, to stop taking on stuff I’m not meant to or worrying about what will come next?
Sometimes it all feels too much. Too hard. Too costly.
All the trying to work it out myself feels sometimes like it might properly wear me out. The effort of trying to be all that I ought to be is sheer downright exhausting. Sometimes it literally feels like trying to run up the down escalator. Sometimes I am fooled by a blind summit and think I’ve made it, only to be disappointed and exhausted all over again when I realise I am not at the top quite yet.
Maybe I never will be.
And then those words of truth whisper in my ear all over again.
There are some things that should never happen. Some things that are just not meant to be.
Creation Fest is one of those things. Once just a dream, a trailer in a field is now grown to thousands of campers and hundreds of volunteers; multiple stages and venues and seminars and concerts, worship leaders from the biggest churches in the country, bands and speakers from around the world. All here, braving the holiday traffic and the unpredictable weather to come to a field in Cornwall that is nowhere really. To be part of a dream that never should have worked.
And as I look around and drink it all in and marvel at God’s great provision, I realise that I too, am part of that impossible dream. That yes, there are things in my life that are seemingly too difficult for me to fix. Too hard. Too costly. That in wrestling with them and trying to battle through, all I am really doing is setting myself up for a fall. Rounding the bend only to be met with the disappointment of yet another blind summit.
Hope deferred makes a heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life
The Bible: book of Proverbs, chapter 13, verse 12.
But as I wrestle with all those hard things, what I realise is this: that what is too difficult for me was never too difficult for God. That God is the King of the impossible, the champion of the difficult.
That the real problem is that so often, I put my hope in the wrong place –in my own ability to work it out and work through all those difficult things and far-off dreams – and that it is this misplaced hope that makes my heart sick.
Because I can never really fix me. I won’t always think nice thoughts or put other people first or be brave enough to chase after my dreams. I won’t always have the clarity to make the right decision, the patience to never hurt someone else or the courage to stand when I want to hide. But in thinking it is up to me, really I am missing the point. And the real miracle of God making the impossible, possible.
You see, in order to deal with all that difficult stuff – all that dirt that hangs around my heart like a stubborn stain, I don’t need to work harder or scrub harder, all I really need to do is let him fill me more. Because when you wash a dirty glass under a running tap, the clean, clear water eventually carries away all of the dirt and the debris – and that is what my soul is like. So rather than asking God to fix me, or change me or help me to be better, or more, or different, all I really need to do is ask him to fill me more. To pour into me more of him – more of his love, more of his Holy Spirit, more of his hope and his life-giving water. And as that fills me up and spills over, all of that stubborn muck and dirt is washed clean out of my heart. Because where his perfect love is, there can be no fear.
Perfect love drives out all fear
The Bible, book of 1 John, chapter 4 verse 18
No striving, no blind summits, just rest and peace and hope. Because God is the God of the impossible, always.
This week I saw that in tents being erected and stages being built and campers arriving and leaving, in bands playing and people dancing, in the gospel being proclaimed and in people serving silly long hours with smiles on their faces and joy in their hearts. I saw it in the skate park and under the rainbow ribbons of the prayer tent, in the ferris wheel and the bonfire, the fireworks and the herb garden, in the kids tent and the cafe, the communion and community that comes together from across the globe to serve Jesus and a small town where this sort of thing doesn’t ever happen.
I pray I see it in my own life, and you in yours too.
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