Straws and safety-nets

There are times in our lives when everything seems wrong.  A workplace that demands everything; but gives nothing back.  A relationship on the rocks; or no relationship at all. A baby who refuses to sleep; a scowling teen who won’t meet your gaze.

Maybe it’s something you can’t talk about – or something you can’t see. Bruises; inside or out. Loneliness; depression; pain or grief.  Sadness that smothers; thick crests of anger that die, quick as they surge.

Hold on, friends tell us. But to what?

The world slips and we grasp for something concrete. A bar of chocolate; a box-set; a kitchen extension, a new car.  Something we can touch. Something we can see.

These things can be good. But if we lean on them, they won’t bear our weight. We fall; and clutch at more straws.

The bible says, hold on too. Hold on to the gospel, (1 Cor 15:2).

The gospel isn’t visible, like a flat screen TV – but it’s a lot more concrete.   It points us to the God who can bear the full weight of our struggles, wrestlings and pain. And here’s the tiniest snapshot of who He is;


God the Father – watching over us and cheering us on.

Think of a father encouraging their child to walk. ‘Come to me’ he says, arms out, smiling; ready to catch them if they fall.

Our heavenly Father doesn’t love us because we walk or grow.  He loves us first – and this gives confidence to step out, knowing He has got us.  Yes, we’ll stumble.  We’ll run away or disobey.  We’ll get overtired or sick or jealous of our siblings.  But we come to Him in faith, and His arms are always open.

God the Son – praying for us; night and day.

Sometimes Jesus is described as a priest, interceding for us at the Father’s right hand.  Not sure what to say? He prays for us. Speechless or stumbling with sickness or sadness or sin?    He turns our mutterings into music that soars into the very throne room of heaven.

God the Spirit – guiding us in every step.

You’ve had a horrendous day and your emotions threaten to overwhelm you.  Then, a friend calls and you pour out your heart to them.  Can you feel it?  The relief of being heard and understood and encouraged by someone who loves you and understands. This friend, (times one billion million) is like the Holy Spirit.  God, with us and in us, every moment.  Stuck for wisdom in a tricky situation? Struggling to stay calm with an unreasonable boss?  Battling with emotions that stretch like skyscrapers across your heart? Pray.  Your counsellor is right here.  God Himself will help you.


There’s so much more.  A family of faith who have got your back.  A great cloud of witnesses, past and present, roaring for you as you stagger towards the finish-line.  That struggle, that loss, that conversation.  You are not alone.  We’re in it, together.


We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.

Hebrews 6:19


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5 thoughts on “Straws and safety-nets

  1. Fabulous Emma. Powerful and true. Deeply encouraging and inspiring.
    The uniquely Trinitarian God is a help and support and encouragement and guide like no other.

    Thank you.

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