Over the last few weeks, I’ve continued to reflect on the words of Reverend Richard Coles who, in thinking about Jesus’ words in John’s Gospel 10:10, said: ‘Life in all its fullness is about love, joy, fear, despair, grief, sadness and everything else we experience that is harsh and difficult. All parts of this thing we call a liveable life. Taking the rough with the smooth.’

All manner of thingsThose same last few weeks have brought a lot of ‘the rough’ to the Frost family. As I contemplate this photo of the machinery used to smooth out the local cricket pitch, it feels like life has steam-rollered us. Several bereavements and significant health diagnoses for family members have, to maintain the cricketing analogy, thrown several googlies and bouncers (we do remain not out, though).

Not for the first time, the irony of having written about finding stability in times of change, of navigating stormy waters, is not lost on me and led to trying to practise what I preach… not always successfully.

God has made his presence known through the love and concern of others and strength sufficient at particular times. Other times, though, when exhaustion and worry take a lead and cries of disbelief and ‘It’s not fair’ overtake, it is hard to believe that this is life in all its fullness.

We only have to look around us at the world in general, let alone our nearest and dearest, that life is not all about tea and biscuits in the pavilion. Robert Burns’ words about ‘Man’s inhumanity to man, Makes countless thousands mourn!’ seem all the more pertinent at the current time.

So how do we understand this baffling and painful aspect of the promise of the fullness of life?

For me, I have also reflected on the words of someone who lived not in the 21st (nor the 18th) Century but in the 14th. In many ways, perhaps Richard Coles is saying the same thing as Julian of Norwich did: ‘All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.’

It’s not that ‘all shall be well’ means that life will be without difficulty. It’s that life contains ‘all manner of things’ (including all that causes and brings difficulty). It’s that the hope of eternal life with God means that despite ‘all manner of things’ all shall be well.

Or put another way, as Paul wrote:  ‘For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ (Romans 8:38-39)

 

 

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In this season of Lent, do take a look at some short films and other resources which may be helpful.

Details of my books can be found at richardfrostauthor.com