Shaken or Stirred?
No, I'm not talking about a vodka martini or 007! But I have heard many people say that in these days with Covid God is going to shake the world through it. Lets be clear, I don't think anyone thinks that God caused the pandemic, although I was asked by a friend who goes to a United Reform church whether I thought that was the case. It's more that people think He can use this situation to reach people and turn things around. I believe that God can use anything and turn it around for good. However, the word I would use is stirring rather than shaking. Shaking gives me a vision of an angry father shaking his child for not doing well enough in exams, and we all know our heavenly Father is not like this. In this world where there is so much pain and suffering at the moment I don't believe our loving Father is going to come in with a clap of thunder or an earthquake. I think he is going to awaken people's hearts with gentleness and kindness, with a whisper. We are already seeing how ordinary people are out there doing so much for the less fortunate. People's compassion is being ignited. If He can work through situations He can certainly work through His creation.
I decided to do some research into the word "stirring". In Hebrew it can mean "to rouse oneself", "to awaken" or "to be excited". In Greek it can mean "to awaken from a sleep or stupor" or "the resuscitation of a flame" and Strong's says it has a primitive root which could be opening eyes! I was so excited by all of this. These descriptions are exactly what I have felt happening to my heart at this time. In my early blogs at the beginning of the first lockdown I mentioned how , although I walk every day with my dogs, I started to become more aware or "awake" to nature around me. Not only that but aware of the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who were together at the beginning and are just as much together now living in unison with one another and living in me. I am part of the great dance they are in but so is the whole of creation! The flame in my heart that had grown dim is being resuscitated, I am awakening from a stupor and I am so excited!
A friend and neighbour died of a brain tumour a few years ago. She wasn't a Christian and would only let me visit if I didn't talk about God! The tumour was inoperable and she was given 6 weeks to live so she invited all her friends to visit over that time because she said not every one knows when they're going to die so they don't get the opportunity to say goodbye. She loved nature and preserving things in their natural environment. She had been a teacher and towards the end of her illness she would go back to that place and reprimand me for not bringing my notebook with me so we could do the two times tables! Then just before she died she seemed to get a great clarity of where she was going and the last time I visited she said, "Sue, I need to tell you something, you need to listen very carefully because its really important ........... we are all connected to everything!" I believe she saw beyond the grave and knew that the whole Universe is in this dance together. Romans 8:19-21 in the Message says: "The created world can hardly wait for what is coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens"
So shaken or stirred? Stirring may take longer but I believe the outcome will be more fruitful. Psalm 148 talks of the whole of creation praising the Lord and psalm 147 says: "He sends His command to the earth; His word runs swiftly. He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes. He hurls down His hail like pebbles. Who can withstand His icy blast? He sends His word and melts them; he STIRS up His breezes, and the waters flow." Most of us live in countries with seasons and we know we have to go through the rainy and cold days to get to the sunny and warm ones but without rain crops wouldn't grow and a dormant cold period in nature often means things come back stronger and more fruitful. We also know pruning can bring greater fruit. I was pruning my rose bushes this week. I never like doing it because they seem so healthy before I do it but I know in the summer I will be rewarded with an abundance of sweet smelling flowers. I feel in this season Father is gently stirring me to open the eyes of my heart and see beyond myself. To look into the eyes of the great I AM and see the whole of creation there. There has been some pruning along the way and I am sure there is more to come but I am on the journey to blossom as His beloved daughter.