Monthly Talking Point – May 2020

This Month from Keith Saynor – Appreciating the gift of life

“Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Matthew 6:27.

Some of you will remember the story of the 33 Chilean Miners who were rescued after being trapped for 69 days, 700 metres below the surface following a rock fall. The headline for the BBC news report on 14 October 2010 read; “Miners clock off 69-day shift from hell.”

It is clear from reading the news stories that such a traumatic experience has caused many of those involved to reflect on what is really important in life. Perspectives have been changed. The sister of one of the miners commented; “I’m going to give him a really good kicking. He said the mine was crying (a term miners used when rocks fall from the roof of the tunnels) and he went in anyway. How stupid is that? Hopefully, this will teach us not to chase money but to be humble and treasure our friends and family instead.” Her brother had not been due to work that day but had accepted a double shift at double pay. A nephew of another miner, after celebrating his uncle’s rescue said this, “In this world we worry so much about insignificant things, while these 33 men were trapped underground just trying to survive. Maybe it’s time we all started concentrating on the vital things of life and these two months have shown everyone counts.”

Sometimes going through a crisis will change our perspective and highlight the important things in life. In December 2016 I underwent open heart surgery for a torn mitral valve. The operation was successful, and they managed to repair the valve. However, during the immediate recovery, I spent four days on a ventilator in ICU as my lungs would not re-inflate fully. During that time when I realised I could not breathe unaided I reflected on two things. Firstly, I realised how fragile life is and that every day is a gift from God (James 1:17). Secondly, I thought about trust and where it needs to be placed when going through the trials of life. There was only one place I could turn for help; to God. During my recovery this was reinforced for me when I read through some of the psalms and was struck that whatever the author David was going through, he often ended by expressing his trust in God. Psalm 27 is a great example of one where David places his absolute trust in God; “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.” (v 13,14)

Jesus would agree with both the comments of the wife and the nephew of the two miners on what is really important, and He would encourage each one of us at this time to turn to Him and trust Him. This current global COVID-19 crisis, which is full of trauma and anxiety for many, helps us to focus in this way also. Let me encourage you to read Jesus’ teaching and perspective in Matthew 6 v 19-24 on money, Matthew 6 v 25-34 on anxiety, Matthew 18 v 1-6 on humility, and John 15 v 9 -17 on friendship and loving others. As you do, allow the Holy Spirit to minister; to bring hope and peace in place of any discouragement or anxiety you may be feeling, and to bring a perspective on what in life are the things that really matter.

Keith Saynor is Pastor at Grace Church