Lent is upon us and I have not mentioned it yet! For the last three years I have given up magazines during Lent, and you know how I love my magazines!!!! It is very hard especially as I work in a small corner shop with a large collection of magazines!! Temptation there at every corner – oooo errrrr! But I am coping. I am being very restrained. Perhaps only a teeny weeny look at the covers as I walk past. Naughty, naughty I hear you say. I know – it was only a teeny glimpse of the cover! So what comes out of this abstention? Well the money that I would have spent I send to a charity – the Yala fund. Jon Ashworth set up this charity after the Boxing Day tsunami, and he is still helping the people of Sri Lanka to get their lives back on track. I can’t help him by going out there so my little donations help sponsor the children who have been left on their own. A small drop in the ocean.
My thoughts are also focused. Focused on what Jesus actually did for me. His time on that cross was agony. For three hours he was in total darkness. Totally alone. Have you ever felt completely alone? In a darkness so thick? Over the years I have suffered from depression and during such times the only thing I could do in relation to my faith was to read the Psalms. At the moment my favourite one is Psalm 62. David feels completely alone but he knows God will protect him and he puts all his trust in him. “Trust in God at all times, O people: pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.” v8. Imagine pouring out your heart, all the things that worry you, all the things that hurt you. He is a true friend who will never turn away. And Jesus did that on the cross for me. “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?” Matt.27 v46. He felt totally alone, but the trust in his Father was there. “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit! Luke.23 v46. So I am reminded of this. It focusses me down and while I am filling the shelves I can also be thinking and praying, and thanking God for doing that huge thing for me.
During my last spell of depression I painted a lot and one picture I treasure. It isn’t framed, but is propped on the piano. It tells me I can come out of the darkness, if I hold on to the anchor that is God’s love. And I have! After the healing I experienced in Israel, the feeling of God’s love – see here – I have coped with all that last year threw at me. God knew it was coming and he certainly prepared me for it. Thank you Lord….