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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Conversations with experience

Dad has some cousins living in a little place just off the M4 between Reading and home so we often pop in to see them on our journeys to/from Reading.
This couple are amazing. They are both in their 60s, have five children and four grandchildren. Healthwise, they've not had a great year of it with both of them being quite seriously ill. But they're still smiling.

This couple epitomise to me the joy of serving the Lord. I don't know much about their life but I know that whenever I'm with them they radiate such a joy in their salvation. I remember many occasions staying with them when I was younger and always looking forward to it not just coz I got to see Pug (Paul, their youngest son) and the others again; not just coz we got to ride our bikes up and down the lanes of Kington Langley or climbed the trees in their back garden or swung from the climbing frame or learnt how to make paper aeroplanes or got to see Tim's iguana...but because they always made us feel so at home and because there was always a joy in their faces which I now know was the joy of salvation.

Sylvia, Dad's cousin, is an amazing woman. As a couple, they are hospitable. But Sylvia will get up at the crack of dawn, or before, to do the housework, make breakfast and/or food to last the day so that when you are up she has time to chat to you. Colin, her husband, is happy in charge of the kettle and keeps the cuppas coming and the conversation flowing.

They have built churches (physically), run holiday camps, pastored churches, evangelised gypsies, done street evangelism, door-to-door evangelism. They have known, and still know, the heartache of seeing their own children turn away from the Lord. They have known, and still know, the joy of seeing their own children become eager to serve Him.

And above all, they know what it is to live with little (by the world's standards). They've lived 'by faith' pretty much their whole lives and with five children this has sometimes taken its toll, I'm sure. But they remain self-sacrificing.

And it was with this background to their lives – as little as I know of it – that I sat and relished the conversation I had with them on my last day at uni about doing Relay. I talked to them about how I'm excited about seeing how God will provide for me – but mainly scared. How I want to trust God more. And they talked about how living in such a way strengthens your faith. About how God is always with you. About desiring the spreading of the gospel and His kingdom. We talked about the exciting opportunities there are to reach out to students. And we just chatted about Jesus.

They never gave examples from their own experience. They didn't need to. They simply needed to say “God will provide”. The weight in those words coming from this couple was immense. What was more immense was the confidence with which they were spoken.

I thank God for them, and I pray that I may be more like them. Humble, hospitable, joyful, talking about Jesus at every given opportunity, longing to serve Him whatever the cost – counting all things as loss compared to knowing Him – and emanating that in my words and character and life. Praise the Lord for the family He has given us and for the way we can learn from each other. Hallelujah.


Blogger Timmy C said...

People like that are such a blessing, thanks for sharing your afternoon with them Ceryn :) I really want to be seeking after that joy in my life as well, coming into a job soon, that those around me would see what true joy really is when it's lived out!

And yes, God will definately keep providing for you before and during your year on Relay :)

Proverbs 3v5-6

7:50 AM  

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