Mud, glorious mud!
Laura Simpkins ponders our response to the ‘mud’ in our lives.
Are you getting stuck in the metaphorical mud as we slip and slide into the wet winter months? Are your four walls closing in on you? Perhaps you are feeling isolated. Are health issues particularly difficult for you under current circumstances? Is your financial position unsure? For some, these are just the start of their concerns at this moment. I know my family and I have been finding life challenging with our house move being frustrated and my health condition (ME/CFS) flaring up quite a bit. Writing this is actually a cognitive and physical challenge. And my wellies and I have not literally been out in any mud for quite a while!
Do you recall the Flanders and Swann comic classic Mud, Glorious Mud? For the hippopotamus, mud was an absolute pleasure, a veritable spa experience. And for some humans too, it is a timeless solution to clarifying and soothing the complexion. Natives of some parts of the world build homes with it, or even bake in it. Maybe the value of mud is a case of perspective?
Super-typhoon Goni battered the Philippines on 1 November, and what was left was devastated ten days later by hurricane Vamco. I received prayer requests and shocking photos of the storm from a friend. There is a brave Christian community in Manila who are grateful to be alive and seeking to draw closer to each other and to God in the tragic aftermath. They were awash in torn trees, pieces of destroyed homes, vehicles, sewage and massive volumes of water, and thrashed about in sustained 90 miles per hour winds. How do they begin to recover from this?
In the words of Henri Nouwen (from You are the Beloved), ‘we have to learn how to think about the events of the day that take place in our community or our larger world … as ways to come to know God in new ways.’ Do we believe that God is alive, and that He is working in the everyday? Is our half-empty view keeping us from recognising God’s presence? We must ‘… learn to read the newspaper with a heart that sees God at work among his people …’ Will we struggle with evil? Yes! Is God still at work? Yes! ‘To pray is to look at Jesus who is real and to believe more and more.’ As we live through and witness suffering, we mustn’t let it distract us from the truth; these events bring into focus proof of God’s presence in our broken world. ‘The greatest of all reality is the presence of God in the world.’ Let’s read our daily realities with the heart and mind of God for His people, and pray accordingly, in hope.
Laura Simpkins, discipleship coordinator