Thursday, 10 April 2008

Ten years today

Ten years ago today, the "Good Friday" peace agreement was signed in Northern Ireland. The politicians had been up all night.

I was more preoccupied by the 125 mile non-stop Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race which we began that morning, at 8:22 a.m., which would keep me up all the next night!

Today I casually said to my father, "it's the 10th of April". He replied, saying that that must mean it was ten years since "the DW", in which he led one of our support crews. He hadn't forgotten! (Support crews meet us at locks to cram bananas and drinks down our throats, change our water bottles, speak encouraging things and even serve up a gobbled meal and quick change of clothes at the half-way point - there's no timing concession for it, but we decided a bowl of
pasta and some dry canoeing gear would be beneficial).

A lot has happened in ten years. I finished my degree, did another one, met and married my wife, we had children, I entered the Christian ministry, I've lived in 11 different houses, we emigrated, etcetera.

What about you? There's one thing we, if we're Christians, surely have to come back to. How many sins, how many falls, how many wasted opportunities, how much time frittered away, how many blind alleys have we gone down? How many times have we stumbled? How much confusion and worldly-mindedness led us astray?

Yet at the end of it all, we can still say "I was repenting of my sins and trusting in Jesus Christ then - and I am today too. I have disgraced my Saviour many times; he has been so gracious to me and because of his love I'm still here through it all."

I remember being conscious whilst paddling in the dead still of night on the deserted Thames, that God was always present. He is still present. Ten years is a record of ten years in which the Lord has been so patient with a continually stumbling sinner.

It's good to look back on special days in our lives - it's even better to look back on the perseverance of our Saviour in his ministry towards us, despite our poor return of gratitude to him.

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