Tuesday, October 18, 2011


The word of last weekend was 'believe'. The WRU even had special t-shirts printed with the word. At the stadium, Only Men Aloud! were performing the 'Don't Stop Believin' song with massive pathos. We were told to believe, as if that meant something in itself. I'm not sure what it boils down to. 'Believe' is a powerful emotive word. But unless that believing is connected to something powerful or certain, what does it amount to? We could all believe that Wales were going to win, even in the final, but that possibility vanished on Saturday. Wales could have won for so many reasons but the most controversial was the 'red card' (sending off) handed down to the captain for a dangerous tackle. Gatland, the Welsh coach said, 'We just feel like the destiny of the result was taken out of our hands'. In as much as the Welsh team's destiny seemed to be in their own hands, 'events' took a strange turn, in spite of all the supporters' most earnest 'believing'.
After over three years of treatment, battling against cancer, it may seem strange to some that we are 'dali gredu' (Welsh for 'still believing'), still singing songs like, 'Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my father'.
At one level, when we believe in God, we're not doing anything remarkable. It is a mere working out of probabilities. The idea that the elegent complexity and order that we take for granted around and within us could come into being without a designer is a leap of faith bigger than any required to acknowledge that, just as a higher intelligence was required to make the computer this post was written on, a higher intelligence was and is at work around us.
People say, 'It's not fair, what's happened to you and Padi', but what has fair got to do with a universe that is supposed to have sprung out of nothing by chance and for no purpose? Chance knows nothing of right or wrong, fair or unfair. One loses and another wins, one dies and another lives. If you cherish the opinion that the universe is governed by 'chance', why does it matter at all what happens? And. Yet. It. Does.
Ally used to see a lot of this in her line of work. Celebrities that see their end coming have been known to make a great show of fighting cancer. You've got to keep on believing, they say, and Dr's are careful to avoid damaging any vestiges of hope. There may be some psychosomatic benefit to it... But death is inevitable, and the clinging to life in the face of terminally deteriorating health is 'a melancholy spectacle', as one preacher put it, especially if all you have to believe in is believing. All our believing could not prevent the French winning on Saturday. All our believing cannot prevent death. God can, but he has something better in store...
Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.  (1 Corinthians 2:9)
Do you love God? That is the greatest command, and the one we least regard (cf. Matt 22:37). People say to us, 'I wish I could have faith', but they are not willing to go to the One who can give it to them. The 'believing' that saves is a gift from God. He is more willing to give it than you are to seek him for it: we see that in the giving of his own Son into the world, to be crucified, suffering the punishment our sins deserved so that people could be free to live with and for God, for time and eternity. This quality of believing is created by God the Holy Spirit in our souls. Ask Him for it. The 'immortal invisible, only wise God' (1 Tim1:17) is well worthy of your belief, your praise, your life, your all.
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were an offering far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all. (Isaac Watts)
In fact, we believe that God is doing something 'so amazing, so divine' through our 'dark providence', and, although we do not see it clearly, who knows, part of that could be your own salvation.

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