Wanted - unicyclists!
"I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances." Philippians 4.11
Stephen had it, Paul had it, John had it, the Celtic saints who evangelised Scotland had it, as do those brave souls who operate below the radar to spread the Good News throughout the 10;40 window. What a former commanding officer of mine dubbed "the flash of the kingfisher". That spark of imagination which cuts through the fog of normality. Potentially it's a game-changer but it can lift spirits whatever the circumstances. I glimpsed it on the news yesterday. After forecasting another snowy day for the north of England and the Scottish Borders, the reporter signed off with a clip of a unicyclist trudging home dragging his equipment behind him: "not a day for unicycling" he declared.
Not so, thought I. This is just the kind of eccentricity we need to brighten such a day! And it's amazing what these performers can do. A couple of summers ago I had just pedalled my own bi-cycle over a particularly challenging stretch of highland highway only to meet a posse (not sure what the correct collective is) of unicyclists going the other way. Hats off!
Why does any of this matter and what is the place of such musings in a devotional blog? Quite simply, the calling of Christ is to fulness of life whatever our circumstances and not according to or depending on them. This means loving in the face of hostility, hoping when surrounded by despair, seeing the bigger picture through the frustrations of everyday life and rising above the temptation to give up when things are not going well. Paul declared that he had "learned to be content whatever the circumstances".
He also exhorted the same Philippian Christians to "rejoice always". He was not suggesting that we go around with an inane grin on our face, nor was he taunting those who are prone to depression, mourning the loss of a loved one, or struggling to cope in a catastrophe. His words are a reminder that whatever we might be facing there is meaning in life and real hope to be found in trusting God. Because the same power that raised Jesus to life is operating in us and the same power that created this incredible universe is at work doing something even more extraordinary...