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"See! The winter is past... The flowers have appeared in the countryside; the season of singing has come..."

Meteorologically speaking, today is the first day of summer. And the weather is "on message", which is not to be taken for granted! As we settle into Stage 1 of the recovery from lockdown, many will no doubt be taking advantage of the combination of sunshine and a licence to roam (for 5 miles) and meet (with one other household). It's all very tentative, which is sensible, but it is also very necessary that those who can do respond. There comes a time in any recovery, when the patient must remove the bandages, take those first delicate steps, breathe fresh air again. To avoid such is to risk getting trapped into hypochondria.

The Bible is realistic about people and behaviour. Apart from Jesus, all who feature have their weaknesses and flaws, which makes it easier for us to identify with them because so do we. Their stories are our stories, their feelings and experiences reflect our own. In the same way, the meta-narrative embraces us all and the messages it conveys apply to us now, as much as they did to them then: God made the world and he made it well. Sin has infected us all and corrupted God's good creation throughout. God is with us and for us. From the beginning he had a plan. Jesus has overcome sin and the devil. Our recovery is underway and our future is secure. We have the Holy Spirit to guide and to equip us. Jesus is coming back to judge the world, bring heaven to earth and make creation good again - better then ever in fact!

We are not there yet. And you may be in a situation that renders you acutely aware of that. Just as well, then,

that following Jesus is as much about coping with suffering as it is about anticipating glory. You may not be able to smell the roses but your rescuer is with you, wherever you are. And that is your guarantee that one day you will be where he wants you to be - and he will be there too.

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