Bending the Bow

As a person of faith, I find one of the most exciting things in life is when you pick up the signals that your God is about to do something special. We had an old dog called Jazz (now no longer with us) who was so good at interpreting our family's moves that he had worked out that the sound of the lid going back into the margarine tub at lunch time meant that a walk was imminent. There was nothing in the act of replacing the lid that literally meant "we are going for a walk" in any logical sense except that he knew us very well. As we get to know our God better over the years, we can find that we can "pick up the signals" that suggest he's about to take action. Or maybe we dont - and we miss the hope that these clues can bring. So when someone without faith hears negative news, he or she is unable to comprehend when the faith community has a expectation of good things to come. But there should be no surprise here - the death of a rather special man 2000 years ago was the herald of the coming of spiritual life to his followers and their faith descendants. The long-term imprisoning of one of his most famous followers some years later was key in bringing the message of freedom to millions of gentiles. In more recent times, a man imprisoned for his stance against apartheid was the man to break that evil regime -- there are many, many more examples. In all these cases, the apparent  negative is like the drawing back of a bow. Its as if the archer uses his strength to move the arrow away from it's target, creating a huge tension in the process. Then when sufficient power has been accumulated the arrow flies in the direction he originally intended and hits its mark with staggering results. Sometimes we find ourselves in life thinking that everything is going in the wrong direction,  but it may well be that what is actually happening is that something incredible is being prepared. It doesnt matter greatly whether we "get it" or not - it'll still happen. Jesus's followers were not optimists when he was arrested and executed - but that didnt stop God's big plan from unfolding. But imagine how different those three days would have been for them if they had believed what he told them in advance about what was coming. Is life throwing you news of things going in the wrong direction? Consider the possibility that the archer is bending the bow. There is a song that is popular in churches in the UK (by Matt Redman) at the moment that expresses something of this very well.. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death Your perfect love is casting out fear And even when I’m caught in the middle of the storms of this life I won’t turn back I know You are near And I will fear no evil For my God is with me And if my God is with me Whom then shall I fear? Whom then shall I fear? Chorus: Oh no, You never let go Through the calm and through the storm Oh no, You never let go In every high and every low Oh no, You never let go Lord, You never let go of me And I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on A glorious light beyond all compare And there will be an end to these troubles But until that day comes We’ll live to know You here on the earth Chorus: Yes, I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on And there will be an end to these troubles But until that day comes Still I will praise You, still I will praise You

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