A whisper in the wind

Man jumping over 2013Time flies! Everyone I speak to feels that the years are passing faster than ever. A few months ago 2012 was only just beginning, and now it’s nearly over! Here in the UK this year we’ve celebrated Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee, hosted the Olympic and Paralympic Games and ‘enjoyed’ the wettest summer for 100 years. In Europe scientists announced the discovery of the elusive Higgs Boson particle, and the Costa Concordia cruise ship found itself at the centre of one of Italy’s worst maritime disasters. In Asia there’s been severe flooding in the Philippines, and Xi Jinping became the new Chinese leader. In the Middle East there have been worries over Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the tragic Syrian civil war and a few miles further south nearly 800 Gazan rockets were fired into Israel in 2012 before Israel finally responded in November. Superstorm Sandy brought death and destruction in the Caribbean, before going on to wreak havoc in the north-eastern states of the USA. Over New Mexico Felix Baumgartner, an Austrian skydiver, made the highest and fastest jump in history from a helium balloon at an altitude of 128,100 feet.

Much has happened in a relatively short time – including many other important events, but that’s not always the case for us all. If we’re not careful time can quickly fly by with little being achieved. How was 2012 for you? Did you manage to accomplish as much as you’d hoped? Unless we take stock of our time it will quickly slip through our fingers. 3,000 years ago King David wrote, “Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered — how fleeting my life is. … My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; certainly, everyone alive is like a whisper in the wind.” (Psalm 39:4-5)

In the light of eternity we are here for a relatively short time – “a whisper in the wind”, so the beginning of a new year is a good time to think about our priorities in life. The time quickly comes when we can look back twenty, thirty, even forty years over our adult life, and realise that we can’t change our past and that our future is shorter than it once was. So 2013 offers us a whole new start to make the most of our time, by reassessing our priorities and making the most of every opportunity. As Moses once prayed, “A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. … So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a wise heart.” (Psalm 90:4, 12)

I hope that 2013 will be a blessed year for you, a year when you accomplish your goals yet find time to rest, when your priorities are ones that you’ll look back on with gladness, and, whatever your situation, may God be your guide. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

In hot pursuit

Bradley Wiggins
Bradley_Wiggins (courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Sporting fervour has been at its height in the UK over recent days, and not just because of the coming Olympics. The triumph of Great Britain’s Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome caught the nation’s attention as the two cyclists powered to victory in France’s premier sporting event, the Tour de France. Wiggins’ success is a tribute to his hard work and sportsmanship. This year Wiggins became the first person ever to win the Paris-Nice, the Tour de Romandie, the Critérium du Dauphiné and the Tour de France in a single season. His next challenge is, of course, riding for Great Britain at the London Olympics, but there is one Olympic cycling event that he won’t be able to take part in, and that is the 4km individual pursuit, an event in which he won gold in Beijing in 2008. Following a decision by the International Olympic Committee in December 2009, the individual pursuit has been excluded from London 2012 and from future games.

The individual pursuit consists of two cyclists starting on opposite sides of the track at the same time, and aiming to complete the distance in the fastest time. In so doing the two riders pursue each other, and if one rider manages to catch the other, he or she is declared the winner.

The sense of being pursued is not just confined to cyclists however, whether it’s a celebrity pursued by their fans, a citizen by “the taxman” or a rogue trader by their customers many have undergone what can be an uncomfortable experience. On her website, EveryStudent.Com, Marilyn Adamson admits to being pursued by God. A one-time atheist, Marilyn admits that the God question deeply troubled her. She wanted to disprove God’s existence once and for all, and thereby gain peace of mind, but she eventually came to realise “that the reason the topic of God weighed so heavily on my mind, was because God was pressing the issue.” She continues, “It was as if I couldn’t escape thinking about the possibility of God. In fact, the day I chose to acknowledge God’s existence, my prayer began with, “Ok, you win…” It might be that the underlying reason atheists are bothered by people believing in God is because God is actively pursuing them.”

It is difficult to escape the possibility or the evidence of a Creator. We are surrounded with natural beauty, power and grandeur. In the Greek scriptures we read, “since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made …” (Romans 1:20)

We are relational beings, we need human contact. So it is not surprising to think that the One who designed us is also relational, and has made us precisely so that we might know him. In the 1st Century Yeshua (Jesus) declared that we were made for a relationship with the Divine, “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Yeshua the Messiah, whom you have sent.” (John 17:3)

Are you being pursued by your Creator?