Hope 2017 is better!

It has a been a sad time in the fading weeks of 2016. So many famous people have passed away in recent weeks I’ve been almost too scared to read the news. Great icons of stage and screen have been passing with frightening regularity, and serves as a timely reminder of just how fragile we human beings actually are.

I was stunned to hear of Rick Parfitt’s passing. I saw Status Quo just over a year ago in Glasgow’s new concert venue The Hydro. They played a great set despite their advancing years and seemed destined to go on forever. The ‘Quo’ are a bedrock of British rock music spanning decades. They were actually formed a year before I was born in 1967! To hear of the passing of Parfitt is sad and his family must be devastated like any family who loses someone so near Christmas.

I just enjoyed Carrie Fisher joking away on the television a week ago, only to hear this complex, funny and talented lady had taken a heart attack, and ultimately did not recover after her flight home from the UK. Now I hear her also famous mum, Debbie Reynolds has died just days after-probably from a broken heart. No matter how much money or fame one has, or doesn’t have- the pain from loss can be unbearable.

Singer George Michael, whose kindness and generosity for others is starting to become known, (hidden for so long from us on his orders), actresses Liz Smith, Zsa Zsa Gabor & quite a few others have shuffled of their mortal coils. It would be easy to feel hopeless and despondent-as many people do in these circumstances. The promises of life and status mean nothing whether you were a king, president or just plain old you and me!

The one-time persecutor of Christians- a man called Paul later commented about his faith, the risks to his life and the lives of others with these words…

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35-39 (NLT)

The one sure thing we have is our faith in the Love of God that Paul so beautifully described in these verses. I don’t know the personal convictions of any of these celebrities-some may have believed in God and some may not have-but I am convinced we should all strive towards understanding what really matters in life. We must frame our existence in a perspective based upon eternal values that are firmly rooted in God’s love for us.

It was a sad way to end 2016. We will all be hoping for a much better new year in 2017. One way to help make that happen would be to re-frame our lives in God’s Love. it is eternal, it is unbreakable and it is certain. Aim for something that is really important-much more important than obtaining lots of money or perceived status- then we can really begin to value what our lives mean. I’m praying for a much better 2017, with God’s love I’m starting in the right place.

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Stuart Stevenson

Engineer, Minister (CoS). Love God. Love Family. Love Scotland.

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