dreams and disasters

David Attenborough’s ninetieth birthday, white wine spaghetti sauce, beautiful choral music, a bench, ‘King Lear’, and first class stamps. What do all these things have in common?

Trick question: the only thread that binds them together is that of their appearance in my life at some point this week. Maybe you thought of some far more creative connection, but from where I’m sitting they’re just some random moments from the past few days!

Needless to say it’s been a busy, full-of-all-sorts week. From candlelit dinners with friends to Greek revision classes to launching a book (!) to eating ice cream to working in a library to making toasties for twenty-or-so people…I have found myself in the middle of a whirlwind and today I had to stop and take stock.
imageYou can get dizzy from excitement and busyness, lost in a swirl of laughter and fun and hard work but no pause for breath.

You can get dizzy from forgetting to remind yourself of your roots in the grace of God, from not taking a proper moment to dwell in his foundational presence.

This afternoon I went for a long Cambridge walk to think all this out and refocus myself a little. I was listening to music and these lyrics caught my ear:

Follow the light through the dreams and disasters
Follow the light to the edge and the after
We won’t turn around, we will not slow down
Follow the light through the dreams and disasters

Follow the golden thread of hope through both the dreams – the beautiful, sparkling moments of excitement and fun – and the disasters – the times that are tougher, harder, much more full of struggle. Fix your eyes on the hope and the goal, the light beaming out ahead: run the race marked out for you through the many different situations and moments you might find yourself in.

There’s much and many verses about this in the Bible, but a few that spring to mind are these, from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:

Rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Rejoice, pray and give thanks: always, continually and in all circumstances. No matter what circumstances we find ourselves in we can have this joyful, prayerful, thankful attitude: God has given us this way to align ourselves with His constant, golden thread of hope.

When I’m next in a whirlwind of a week (probably tomorrow?!), I can try and adopt this attitude. This is good because it roots me, and us all, in God’s will: when we live full of this hope and joy and gratitude we enact God’s will for us in Jesus.

We can so often think of God’s will for us as something in the future: a particular place, job, ministry, person, event, holiday, [insert word of your choice here]. God’s will becomes about what we will do, what role we’ll eventually take on. And although to have such callings can most definitely be good, I think that these verses remind us of something quite different.

They call us to a way of being, an attitude that does not depend on our external circumstances or role. God’s will for us is that we be his in each moment, without constantly looking ahead to a future time when we will ‘properly’ realise his plan for us. His plan for us is taking place right now, whether that’s as we study hard for exams or invite people over for dinner or take sneaky photos of David Attenborough from the opposite bank of the Cam. (More random moments from my week.)

Attenborough himself.

That’s such a good truth to rest in, that God cares for us and has a plan for us now and always: ‘all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be’, as the Psalmist wrote. Let’s live with hands grasping hold of our identity and God’s will, with eyes fixed hopefully on what’s ahead even as we travel through whirlwind-busy days.

If you were intrigued, the song those lyrics were from is Owl City’s ‘Dreams and Disasters’ 😉