I watched Professor Brian Cox not too long ago as be began to explain the wonders of the Universe to my really simple mind. Somehow he managed to capture my imagination and excite me about things that are far too vast and wonderful for me to ever fully copmprehend. Among all the amazing and fasiniating things he said about the interstellar medium, the asteroid belt, thermonuclear fusion and white dwafts, he also spoke of time and the destiny of our whole solar system.
He confidentially informed me that within 60 Million years the likelihood is that our sun will have collapsed into itself and become a white dwarf and our solar system would have gone. He spoke about the inevitability of this and how the whole cosmos could not have formed and held life, without the sure and certain fact that death is inevitable For with life always comes death, and our whole universe will be subject to this eventually. There is no way we can stop this, no way we can begin to turn this around, we are moving from order to chaos and we can’t do a darn thing to change it.
I didn’t find this news too depressing, I think I already knew. But what I have found depressing and frustrating is when I have met people who really do want to turn back time, those who live in regret and spend their lives looking over their shoulder saying “if only!”
In one of my churches there were two teenagers – let’s call them Kath and Julie. They were friends and had worshipped at the same church for a long time, and they were in the same school year. That’s really about all they had in common. Julie finished school and went off to University to study for her degree, and Kath suddenly found herself pregnant. Her family kicked her out and so she got a small house where her daughter was born. Her little girl was so beautiful, such a delight. The father never appeared, so Kath was alone in raising little Mary. There was never a day when I visited her through those days of early motherhood where she didn’t say “I wish I could turn the clock back!” “I wish I had gone to university like Julie”, “I wish I had never got pregnant”. For years, well until her daughter went to school, she held these dark thoughts. Julie graduated and got a god job, while Kath struggled on benefits and hand outs from people who genuinely cared and loved her.
I so wanted her to grasp the moment, to celebrate all she had; her beautiful home that many folks had helped her furnish, and her delightful growing daughter; with her white blond hair and bright blue eyes, growing more lovely each day. Yet still Kath wanted to turn the clock back, she wanted to be like Julie and be independent and study and not be tied down with the responsibilities that were now hers.
There was never a time when I left a pastoral visit with Kath that I didn’t feel such sadness and frustration from hearing yet again that she wanted to go back in time, to be free and single. Nothing I could say or encourage her to do positively lifted her from the regret and disappointment she was currently experiencing and her only prayer was for a miracle to change her situation. I longed for her to encounter God in the here and now , but sadly that seemed to be a bridge too far!
Thank You Father that you even when life doesn’t go the way we anticipated you are never far away, and you journey with us even when the roller coaster of life appears to be falling at a great rate of knots.
Jesus – during this Lenten season – remind me again that you are in all the twists and turns, and even in the disappointments there are always points of blessing. Help us to see them Lord even when it’s hard.
Lord hear us – Lord graciously hear us!