It’s all very well being positive. Positive is good – no-one wants to be moaned at all the time. Counting your blessings. That’s good too. I’m all for it. Most of us are a lot better off than we realise and it does no-one any harm to stop and take stock and be grateful.
Last week, I was re-reading a book that had got on my nerves a bit the first time. But, my multiple insecurities disorder always tells me that, in all circumstances, I am incorrect and everyone else is right so I tried it again. There is this bit in it where this woman realises that she is very ill – she’s not dying or anything but she’s definitely ill and she grasps the table whispering – with her very shallow, ailing breath. “Gratitude to God – at all times.” Well she is either amazing or mentally unwell. I would be whispering “999. Please dial. Quick as you can” but I suppose I’m just self centred.
We have to be honest I think. It is not great faith to keep saying that everything is top-notch when it quite clearly isn’t. It is weird.
In Britain at the moment lots of things are rubbish. We have no Prime Minister (well there’s David Cameron but he’s just thinking about retirement in Cornwall now.) There is no effective opposition party. (Unless you include a Labour leader who seems to be spending all his time with his arms and legs wrapped around the nearest chair leg shouting “I won’t go and you can’t make me.”) All the Shadow Cabinet have resigned leaving just three people to run from room to room putting different hats on quickly depending on which department they are in charge of today. There’s Nigel Farage. Lets just leave that one as it is. I just can’t, to be frank. And this is all before we get to your actual Exit negotiations, casual racism, Nicola Sturgeon’s steely glint and the England Football Team. And people keep standing up and saying “Don’t worry. Everything is fine.” Well it isn’t is it? If you are a praying person – our nation could do with some now. I’m not very good at praying for England. I’m better with people I know and love. (Or people I don’t love which I only tend to do because God is pestering me to.) But I love Great Britain. I am grateful to be from here. And it’s not good at the moment.
There’s a bit in Matthew in the Bible where Jesus tells his disciples that with God they can tell a mountain to move and it will move. We take God seriously – amazing things happen. However, first you have to agree that there is a mountain. It’s no good keep trudging forward and pretending it’s not there – you will bump into it and have a nasty scrape on your nose. If life is awful. If something is wrong, we need to say so. Pretending is not exercising your faith, it’s acting. It doesn’t give God any credit either. Because it doesn’t matter how bad it is – God can do something about it. We don’t need to pretend that things are better than they are. God is not afraid of my problem. So we can admit it. Admit that it is a mess and we don’t know how we can solve it. It’s not just about national and international things – it’s about you and me and the day to day. It’s no good whistling a happy tune and getting on with it. Be honest with God – if necessary until snot comes down your nose. We should be counting our blessings by all means but we also need to say when it’s rubbish, then pray when it’s rubbish. That way, we get to see the mountain and get the privilege of seeing it move as well.
“Because you’re not yet taking God seriously,” said Jesus. “The simple truth is that if you had a mere kernel of faith, a poppy seed, say, you would tell this mountain, ‘Move!’ and it would move. There is nothing you wouldn’t be able to tackle.” Matt 17 v 20