Today I’ve just had a great sense of unworthiness. I think it’s partly psychological as I’m spending so much time on the Internet looking for jobs and doing wasteful things when I know I shouldn’t be wasting my life. I’ve read John Piper’s book and yet I still find myself slipping into apathy and boredom. I read an interesting statement the other day but I couldn’t tell you where I read it or who wrote it, it went something along the lines of "we make our own lives boring".
That statement really hit although only now it has starting to sink into action. It is so true. I have the option of sitting at home wasting my life away or going out there and doing something. I do have that chose if I admit I sometimes don’t want to admit that I have that choice! I would much rather feel self-pity and drown my sorrows by eating inhuman amounts of ice cream. Even now as I write this post I know I’m wasting my time, even by writing about wasting my time I’m still not doing anything about it!
I’ve recently been thinking about humility and the Christian. I rediscovered a great book by C J Mahaney that I had read about two years ago but forgotten about. From what I recall it was a fantastic book but I’m going to read it again as I encourage you to. If you’re like me the following verses in Philippians really make me look at myself, my own actions and their motives:
Christ’s Example of Humility
2:1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
It definitely is food for thought when the whole world around us is telling us we should only worry about ourselves, that I should get to the top, that I should earn the highest sun, that I I I… The Bible makes it clear that selfish ambition and pride is something that is detestable to God, Solomon even calls pride an "abomination" to Him, and other such strong vocabulary many times in Proverbs – yet we all do it!
It is really something we should all take seriously in life.
This was in my church’s notice sheet this week and to be honest I desperately needed it – God is so good! I haven’t changed anything in it and I hope it helps you as much as it did me.
John Duncan was a great Scottish Biblical scholar who lived in the 19th century. Despite being a deeply godly man he struggled all his life with doubts about his personal salvation. In these words he tells us how he learned to respond to those doubts:
‘For myself, I cannot always come to Christ direct, but I can always come by sin. Sin is the handle by which I get to Christ, I take a verse in which God has put Christ and sin together. I cannot always put my finger on Christ and say, "Christ belongs to me;" but I can put my finger on sin and say, "Sin belongs to me;" I take that word, for instance, "The Son of Man is come to save that which was lost." Yes, lost, lost – I’m lost; I put my finger on that word and say, "I’m the lost one; I’m lost." Well, I find that "The Son of Man is come to save the lost;" and I cry out "What God has joined together let no man put asunder." ‘
Here is a prayer for all of us to borrow;
24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
After cycling the length of Wales, the next challenge had to be succumb – Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) – the highest point in Wales. Standing at just over 1000m it looms over its surroundings. The walk was absolutely amazing with every step providing a new perspective of the idyllic region of North Wales. You can see some of my favourite photos in my Flickr album. The summit was not easy to reach and we weren’t ultimately rewarded with the best view as visibility was confined to just a few meters due to the low cloud.
The whole scenario remained me of those times in the Bible when God’s presence was for very rare moments in time confined to a mountain. Even without the overwhelming presence of the Almighty, his handiwork cries out that there is a Creator. Yes, much of what is seen is produced through natural possess, and I agree. But I can see the hand of God using the forces of nature that He created right at the beginning of time. The formation of glaciers during the Ice Age that scoured out much of the landscape of Wales.
Another thing that struck me at the top of the mountain was the feeling of pure elation on reaching the peak. If it would have been possible I would have looked back over the tough journey and truly believe, as I do, that despite the struggle of reaching the summit, it all balances on reaching the ultimate destination. In comparison this can be put into our lives as God’s children. We have a hope, we have a goal, we have an ultimate destination and although the road seems tough now, when we look back it will only pale in comparison with the situation we will be in then! If that amazing feeling of completion can be felt at the top of a tiny mountain (that’s not even in the top 100 highest mountains in the world!) then how much more the sense of completion will be when we reach our true home!
Isn’t this an amazing thought? We are aliens, we are travellers but one day we won’t have to travel any more – we would have reached our final destination, to be in the presence of the Almighty, to be pure and spotless, to be forever with the Lord. Is this a fantasy? Is it something that has been made up to make life more bearable? Looking at the validity of the Bible in other, earthly aspects then when Jesus, the Son of God says there is a heaven, why not?
I hope I portrayed my sarcasm well. I suppose that the calm is good, but it can be so mundane. I’ve tried my best to keep occupied, but there seems to be TOO MANY hours in the day – something which I never though I’d say just a few weeks ago. I’m currently reading John O’Farrell’s book, An Utterly Impartial History of Britain or 2000 Years of Upper Class Idiots in Charge – sounds interesting doesn’t it, and it is is honestly a fantastic book, especially if you’re like me and want a near-idiot’s guide to English History. Being Welsh however, my pride is hurt now and again with his flippant remarks, but hey, not all Welsh history is as wonderful as our nationalist believe.
Currently, Wales is at a great crossroads – we have to chose between tradition or modernisation. Although this isn’t peculiar to Wales, after losing our independence in 1282 to England, our attitude towards them have never changed despite it being thanks to them that we have a future. Because, let’s face it, we needed to move on from the pagan, indigenous Celts that we once were. But I agree that what we turned into is no better. We turned into a sort of parasite that sucked capital, population and culture from the English. Although there was a dramatic change during the Industrial Revolution as precious coal was discovered beneath the rolling hills of the Rhondda, slate in the North and various other money-making bits and bobs across the country, we seem to have just basked in the glory of the "British" Empire.
I agree with some of our most humble poets that we should look to the old days of independence and fight for our future, but come on, modernity will always win – if it didn’t a society would breakdown as the population flocks to the countries that seem to be more prosperous. Regarding language, Welsh has seen a recovery over the years and I myself am aspiring to speak the language of my nation one day, but to say that it is an important language for today’s society or to hope and pray that Welsh will once again be the dominant language in Wales is like trying to turn back time – which will never happen unless Doctor Who decides to really help Wales out.
If we want others to see Wales as a forthcoming, modern nation as the producers of Doctor Who wish it to be, then we have to give up some of our traditions, and that may mean the language. Will welsh be around in a century’s time? I doubt it. Only on the grounds that history will stamp it out. Just like Gaelic, Latin, Cornish, etc. the future will move on in communication and language which will inevitably mean (as some claim) a dominant, universal language. Why learn Welsh when more time can be spent developing the universal language of English? This is the question that will develop more over the years in Wales, as it already has in many non-English speaking nations. Why encourage miscommunication if there is a possibility to teach every child English as a first language.
I can already see the flaws in this even as I write. Slowly, alter-Western traditions will be weaned out, including language and the earth will cease to be a diverse place. But isn’t this where the world is going anyway? The Internet has helped this along at a once unfathomable rate and more bridges have been crossed between once polarised cultures. I’m not saying that there will be a "New World Order" or anything of the sort (that’s a bit out of my league) but there will most probably be in the future no room for extra cultures and traditions. Although we don’t want it to happen, it inevitably will.
So should we try and save Wales and her traditions? I think, keep them up as long as one can before it’s too late. As said, the inevitable will arrive at our doorstep one day and an even greater crossroads will be loom before us, traditions or modernisation. And the sad but necessary fact is that everyone, even the nationalist, will say "Modernisation, please." and Welsh history and nationalism will forever be only ever read in ebooks.