Paul Saxon writes;-

I’m not sure about you, but sometimes everyday life can feel overwhelming. Problems that used to not faze us, can appear like enormous monsters with pointy teeth, or that we are climbing an impossibly high mountain. For many people at this time of year, with the weather turning colder, the days becoming shorter, and the skies darker, we might feel our mood altering and shifting. 

In January this year, my wife Sarah was appointed youth minister at St Peter’s church in Halliwell, which has meant some pretty big changes for us. Sarah left working at Zac’s where we had worked together since getting married, we moved to a new church, adjusted to Sarah’s new working pattern, and then we bought our first house. Needless to say, it’s been a bit of a crazy ride. With all the newness, I felt a bit “out in the cold” and was longing for the old familiar routine I was used to, the faces I was used to seeing and the house that we left! Honestly, I was feeling completely out of my depth and quite miserable.  When I feel like this, I’m always tempted to think that God has abandoned me or forgotten me. But, in these times, I often turn to God’s Word, where I have experienced again and again, a feeling as though God himself were speaking to little old me, and I’m reminded that He is still in charge of the world, that He still knows me, is for me, loves me, knows all that I need and that he isn’t going anywhere!

I recently stumbled upon this teaching from John Piper…he was preaching from Psalm 42:

“Why are you downcast, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?

Hope in God, for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.”

John Piper said: “Most of our unhappiness in life comes from listening to that voice inside our minds, instead of talking to it.”

He explained that, when we wake up in the morning, we might experience that nagging thought in the back of our minds saying things such as “today is going to be awful” or “I feel rubbish today”, or “I’m not good enough”, when in Psalm 42, the Psalmist actually talks to his soul and asks the question “why are you downcast?” INSTEAD “Hope in God”.

In our Christian journey through life, we will face many battles, some small, some big, we might face times of need, depression, despair, as well as times of plenty, joy, confidence. In those difficult times, reminding ourselves and “encouraging ourselves in the Lord” is vital in order for us to continue walking with God. Even throughout the difficulty the Psalmist faced when writing Psalm 42, he knew the presence of God with him:

By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life. (verse 8)

Christmas time is approaching and I’m gearing up to remind myself afresh that Jesus is the light of the world…our God is not indifferent to the needs of this world, to our personal battles, fears, failures, but is so deeply involved in our lives that he was willing to be born as a human in order to save us. That is an amazing fact to build our lives upon. God Bless You as you trust in the Lord even when it makes no sense to our minds!

Paul Saxon, School Project Worker for St. John’s.