I have been very moved by a post by Ang over at Tracing Rainbows about her friend who has died. You can and should read it here for it is beautiful. It has also clicked into one of my passions and my strongest beliefs – that God measures lives in a totally different way to us. Everyone seems to be obsessed with the deaths of famous people at the moment. I was very emotional about the death of Victoria Wood, a woman I related to on lots of levels and whose wit and warmth I loved. However, she was a popular and successful woman and, if initially I was a bit put out by how many people had said that she was like their own personal best friend (when she was, quite obviously, mine) I did understand that she was well known and very good at what she did so I could forgive them.
But I believe that God measures success differently. He sees success in a quiet life of service devoted to him. By our measurement, a lady who didn’t attain much academically or didn’t marry or have children may even be seen as a failure – she didn’t manage to have it all. But we are wrong. God looks at someone who gives their all, who is cheerful and courageous and who loves him and he says “well done”. God sees people who live through appalling circumstances and find peace and contentment in solitude as overcomers. God sees those who always try to be kind even if it means sometimes allowing themselves to be ridden roughshod over as heroes of the faith. God sees a life devoted to justice and truth as a life well spent. In the wake of the Hillsborough verdicts, I have read newspapers saying that people have wasted their lives chasing justice but I think that the families will not see their lives as wasted. Of course they would rather have never had to do it but it was not a waste of a life to spend it chasing down the truth for their loved ones or, as you could put it, hungering and thirsting after righteousness.
We need to learn to adjust our values to God’s values. To see others and ourselves as God sees. This life tells us we need to be this or have that and it is often a distortion. God promotes real values not plastic ones and the amazing thing is that these are values with a promise attached to them. Do these things and be this person and you will find who you are supposed to be. I’m just going to put here the Message version of Matthew 5 because I love it – although I love lots of versions. It is a challenge to start to use God’s measurer in life with the promise of what will come if we do.