'Adventure without risk is Disneyland.' Douglas Coupland
My fifteen year old daughter preached at our church last Sunday alongside our Senior Pastor Pete (she starts at 11.50 here). It was remarkable to see her standing up there as if she'd been doing it all her life, speaking with conviction and passion.
From the moment the opportunity arose, she was very clear about what she wanted to say. It was her story of the last seven years and how God got her through it. She spoke of new beginnings, and how new beginnings in God should not be viewed as frightening but exciting.
It would have been something for me as a mum to hear my daughter preach. But to hear her preach her story and thus inevitably what she knew of mine was quite another. I had agreed to it, but it was like having all your skin removed in public. It was painful to remember, and astonishing to acknowledge in the hearing of it how very far she, her younger brother and I have come.
Even though we are out of the worst squalls and into calmer waters, the intensity of that storm is neither forgotten nor diminished in memory. The last seven years have - in many ways - been truly ghastly. But God. He has indubitably made His presence felt in the worst of it as much as in the best of it.
Only I, sitting in the front row looking up at her, knew the years of tears and raging that lay behind her words. I know the courage it took her to keep going when she could have so easily believed that this new direction we had been forced to take would overwhelm her. She kept getting out of bed. She kept getting dressed. She kept going. How sweet this moment of precious victory was for her onstage to now share it looking back. I am so proud of her.
I put my head down to hide my own tears when she summed up our journey like this:
"I was in the wasteland and the "stream" looked like a tsunami.
Even though it was a rescue mission."
How brilliantly put. God's rescue from where we were did come at us with a ferocity and relentlessness that frequently made me gasp. But it did not harm us. It was a severe mercy. How else could we have come so far in such a remarkably short period of time? (And... how else might I have been changed and set free in such an effective manner?) It had to be done and God wasn't afraid to do it.
God had good things in mind for us and, before we could see them, all we had was trust in His past faithfulness and His unchanging character (Disneyland it was not).
If you are facing this new year with trepidation, even fear, I can tell you this. With God, you can do it. WITH.
Ask Him to help.
Don't stop now, taste and see that the Lord is good.
You're moving through.