A Year in the Life

The fireworks have started, I hear them outside my window. As I write it is nearly 10pm in Birmingham, England. 2014 will soon be history.

Looking back at the year, it feels like quite a dreadful one, almost certainly the worst I’ve experienced since I came to faith. You may not have got a sense of that from my blog posts, and that is something I regret. When I first started blogging it was my stated intention to share my life – my journey – with you, including the ups and the downs. What I didn’t realise at the time was that something that felt so internal and personal to me is actually almost entirely shaped by my relationships with other people. Friends, family, brothers and sisters in Christ, other loved ones, and not-so-loved ones. They have all had issues to deal with, some of which have involved me directly, and they have all had an impact on me, for better or for worse.

And yet I’ve been unable to share with you so much that has filled my prayer life, because I’m determined not to share anyone else’s story without their permission, especially when they involve sensitive situations or emotions. And the situations and emotions are ongoing, so I haven’t reached a point where I feel comfortable to ask permission.

Occasionally over the years I’ve shared personal vignettes, with participants left unnamed and stories intentionally vague. Right now I don’t feel able to do even that, though I’m sure I’ll find opportunities in the future.

But at present all you know is that 2014 has been dreadful in my eyes. Sure, I can think of many blessings, stars twinkling in the dark sky. But my, the sky is dark.

Where can I look for my hope for 2015? Where else but to the Lord, and to His word. I wanted to end this post quoting Philippians 4:10-13 but when I went to Bible Gateway to find the exact scripture reference (after writing the previous paragraphs) I was amazed to see their verse of the day, no doubt inspired by the time of year:

This is what the Lord says — he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters,

“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.”

Isaiah 43:16.18-19

Wow.

I’m thankful that although I feel unable to share the deepest issues of my life here at present, I have good friends who I can talk to, and who can give me wise counsel, or if needs be just a comforting shoulder. And I’m thankful that God is ever-present, even if I sometimes don’t see him through tears of sadness or frustration.

My prayer for you, my friend, is that you too have such friends, and that you too know God’s presence in your life. And whatever 2014 was to you, I pray that your coming year will be characterised by God’s joy and peace, and that you will see a way in the wilderness, and streams in the wasteland.

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Lord Light the Flame

I want to share with you the words of a beautiful song by Ruth Fazal. The tune is lovely, but unfortunately I can’t find a video online. The words though, are very dear to me, and speak clearly of where I am with God, and where I want to be, at this moment.

Lord, light the flame in my heart
That I may live for You.
O let it burn deep and bright,
That I may shine Your light.
Come cleanse and purify
The sin within me,
Let it die.
And let me live in Your fire,
O Holy God, that’s my desire

Lord, stir the fire in my heart,
That I may live for You.
O Jesus pour out Your love,
That I may love You too.
Go deep within me now,
O Holy Spirit come with power.
And let me live in Your fire,
O Holy God, that’s my desire.

You can learn more about Ruth at her website. This song can be found on her album “Fire of Love“. If you ever get a chance to see Ruth in concert, take it. I had the pleasure of spending an evening in her company along with about 50 others, in a small church in 2011. It was a wonderful, spirit-filled occasion.