Last year was a year of challenges for me. I have had challenging years before but last year left me physically, mentally and spiritually exhausted and I am still getting my resilience back. However, last year I was again reminded of the faithfulness of God and the certainty of the faith on which we take our stand. Sometimes we can slip into the mindset that this faith is something we make happen. If that were so we could never be sure that our faith would be enough in the day of trouble. But the truth is, true faith is a gift from God.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV

Faith is God’s free gift to us. I have personally experienced this on many occasions. A few years ago a doctor ushered me into an examination room to tell me that I had bowel cancer. As it turned out he was more upset than I was. I found myself almost supernaturally calm as I explained to this confused man that I was a Christian and that if I were to die, I go to Jesus, and if I were to live it would be to live for Him now. So it was all the same to me. This was not some kind of bravado that I had talked myself into but it was a deep calm that had come over me from God.

The second particular time happened last year in the office of the man who was to be the main surgeon on my cranium. He very earnestly told me to go home and have a serious talk with my wife because at my age and the general health I was in, there was a real chance that I might not survive the nine hour operation. The operation ended up being twelve hours long and, praise God, I am not dead yet! Even so, in that surgeon’s office I again experienced the quiet, certain peace of God.

I reflected on these two events in particular and came to the strong conviction that this faith we trust our life to, really works, even in the face of the very real prospect of dying. It works because it is not something we create or conjure up or stir up in ourselves. It is from God and therefore it is certain even when we are uncertain. It is sure even when all around us are unsure. It is firm because He is firm.

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 NIV

Mr Ray Evans
School Counsellor/Chaplain