For several years, I used to watch the DVD of My Family and Other Animals with my Year 9 kids at school. I loved the scenes where Gerry Durrell and his brothers and family got caught up in the annual saints’ day parade in Corfu. All the townspeople thronged the streets, pushing and shoving, and along would come this wobbly little sedan chair held aloft and swaying dangerously and, on top of that, a glass cabinet containing the preserved stinking remains of the local saint. Gerry, of course, is mesmerised by this embalmed grotesque figure and wants to be in up close. Meanwhile, we see his mother frantically signalling to him in vain to keep away from this terrible object and all the plagues of deadly infections she imagines go with it.
This scene came vividly into my mind as I read Isaiah 46. Isaiah starts the chapter by describing a sort of parade of god effigies in his own time. The local idols are strapped on to mules and paraded through the streets. But the images are heavy and unmanageable, they won’t balance properly. The gods represented can’t even look after themselves and they are just a burden, a ‘burden for the weary’. In the end, men and beasts stoop and topple together. The useless idols collapse, and the people are all taken off into captivity. No help there from disaster! (Isaiah 46:1-2).
What a contrast is our God! Here we are starting a new year and what a fantastic reminder God gives us of who He is. Just look at what He says: ‘I am the One who has made you. I will sustain you’. I have been holding you safe since you were conceived, and I have been carrying you ever since you were born. I will still be carrying you even when you are old and wobbly, and your hair is white with age. I will go on sustaining you. I have made you and I will carry you. I will keep you going, and I will rescue you (my paraphrase of Isaiah 46: 3-4).
Prayer: Thank You, God, for Your great faithfulness. Thank You that You made me and have been watching over me, guarding and sustaining my life ever since the moment of my conception. Whatever comes, whatever challenge or hardship, You will still carry me and rescue me. Today I choose to put my trust in Your safe hands and know Your amazing peace. Amen.
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