NEW KIND OF NORMAL
Perhaps the best place is at the beginning! Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”. God gave life to all that we know and call home, to all whom we know and love. God gives freely and yet the fear that comes from having what we know and love taken away from us can be overwhelming. The world on lock down we could not have predicted and yet now it is rapidly becoming the current ‘new norm’. So many will be heavily impacted by the current crisis that this world health pandemic has created. Many families will feel as though the rug has been taken out from under their feet, leaving them in a painful heap on the floor. I also know that for many, life will in time revert back to the relative norm that they knew before. Though I will say, on behalf of my family, we wont quite ever know normal as we did before, because that normal included my Dad, my mothers husband, the children’s Granddad, a brother an uncle and a friend to many.
‘Our’ world can feel incredibly small when it is so deeply and personally impacted… But it is a lot bigger than we often realise and often that perspective helps us process everything else that is going on. I remember back to the time my Dad was in the ICU and mum spoke compassionately of the other families in the waiting room “We are all united in suffering and loss”. What a profound statement and so very true when we realise how fragile life is. Many people came around us and contacted us in support of my family and our great loss. We are so thankful for your words, presence, prayers and hugs. We are so thankful we could honour my Dad with a proper funeral. Together with family and friends there was a wonderful heartfelt service that celebrated his life and edified Christ as my Dad would have wanted. Right now in the world families are experiencing loss and the pain of separation pre and post hospitalisation due to COVID-19 and all the other causes that continue to take life.
The truth is, so much of life is unpredictable and so much can be taken away in a moment. What we can be assured of however, is HOPE in Jesus Christ. He alone can give stability and peace when your world is rocked. Christ is a life line that doesn’t weaken even if our health fails us or services we rely on let us down. The Word of God can nourish us and give us strength when our entire schedule, families, provisions are thrown up in the air. So much in life can rob us of our peace and joy which is why it is so vital to find the specific peace and joy that the Lord offers… a deeper and eternal peace and joy that comes from knowing He can hold us together when we feel like our world as we know it is falling apart. We don’t know what lies ahead, good or bad. We can live in fear by our own assumptions and predictions that can suffocate us. I pray you would learn to release your anxiety to the One who does know what lies ahead. There is an incredible passage in the Bible that I have often turned to and I want to share it with you… Knowing our frailty and so needing His power to persevere;
2 Corinthians 4:7-8 “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;” -Therefore we do not lose heart for hope cannot be removed from the one who believes, for as surely as Christ dwells in you, the hope of glory! [Colossians 1:27] .
For all of us, when we have been through hardship, loss, suffering, if you know the Lord already, it is likely you have experienced His comforting grace and for all of us when we have compassion on others that is often possible because of what we ourselves have been through… I find the following verses an encouragement to look to those I can help or support, even through my own struggles or grief and it is by this I find some form of healing begins;
2 Cor.1:3-4 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God”.
May you look to the Lord for comfort during these uncertain and unsettling times, and the times ahead. May you know His grace and peace that surpasses understanding. May there be a verse, a song, a friend who can encourage you to put your trust in the hope that Christ offers. May we pray for one another.
PRAYER REQUESTSFor my Mum and our family in our grief (though we thank God Dad is in heaven, the separation is hard)
My sister Priscilla with her health battle particularly at this time of COVID-19 and supporting her 3 children
My sister Lydia as she strives to home school 5 children and her husband Nick who is trying to keep his job
Pray for those in Cambodia as the ministry continues online despite church closure and banned meetings
Please pray for me as I take each day as it comes, thankful to be with mum and yet not knowing when I can ‘safely’ fly back to Cambodia. I am trusting and the Lord gives me great peace in the present need.
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL THE LOVE, SUPPORT, & GRACE EXPRESSED DURING THIS SEASON OF UNFORESEEN CHANGES IN LIFE AND MINISTRY – MAY YOU AND YOUR FAMILIES BE WISE AND KEEP HEALTHY AND SAFE – WE ARE IN THIS LIFE TOGETHER
Finally I will close with a poem I put together as a tribute to my Dad for a life so well lived, may his legacy and adventures, bless and excite you and give you a curiosity for the Lord our Dad lived to serve and share!
A Poem For Our Dad, David Robert Liles
On a mid-winter’s day in 1935,
Our Dad was born but struggled to thrive!
So the midwife swung him around, until he made a sound.
He grew up a bonnie boy
With little brother Arthur in tow
Playing tricks on their mum as they continued to grow!
The boys were evacuated during the war
Playing soldiers with each other
So Wales wasn’t a bore.
The two brothers attended Choir,
For weddings galore.
These two boys made a trip when Dad was 14 years old
Very independent & incredibly bold;
They cycled to Holland where windmills blow
-The birthplace of his future wife…
Though at this age he could not know!
Our Dad played every sport going along
With tennis , horse riding and Thames swimming strong!
Then as every lads dream,
He bid farewell to his folks, and fought for the Queen!
As a military police man David looked the part
He paraded in Germany but staying awake was an art!
On guard for Anthony Eden- not letting the bad guys in-
But fighting the cold was the war to win!
Then returned to Norfolk to work for the NAFFY store;
Next, posted to Kenya, up a mountain, far from shore!
This young man sort adventure & took up gliding too
Dad probably attempted more than you or I could do!
When 3 swift years had passed,
Off he went to India, with questions to be asked!
This man wanted to know- “What is the meaning of life?”-
Since although in his 30’s he had not yet found a wife!
He met many a Guru, to tell him their ‘way’-
“The Guru of The Beatles”- His claim to fame he did say!
Still this man was not satisfied- this Guru didn’t show the ‘way’,
So our Dad on humbled knee- slowly began to pray!
A couple of years on Dad returned home,
Still with a seeking heart, continued to roam…
Then a faithful couple began to show him the truth-
Inspired by Brother Andrew- Who discovered God in his youth.
“Look to the Lord & he will be your guide…
His promise to you, is to never leave your side!”
To the Holy Land of Israel is where Dad did go…
To affirm his faith in Jesus, among others who would know!
He laboured on a Kibbutz, sweating in the heat…
In Jerusalem & Eilat, many people did he meet.
With everyone who crossed his path,
Dad showed him the Bible
& the cross of Christ which brings us life,
For those answer’s there’s no real rival!
Dad talked of grace to all who would hear
And next God’s special plan did certainly appear…
It was in Athens in a sweet little place,
Where Dad’s eyes fell upon a beautiful face!
Our lovely Mum as we now know,
Told this man after days that she had to go!
So at the station he waved her “goodbye”…
But as the train doors shut, his smitten heart did cry!
This woman, he knew he must marry….
And Dad must have prayed to God, for time not to tarry!
As Dad crossed the Romanian border with Bibles galore…
This Man from England, didn’t know what was in store!
After some time he again travelled home
And to his delight that young lady was on the phone!
With many a visit too & fro
They decided to give a relationship a go!
Just six short months from the start,
Wedding bells chimed as he gave her his heart!
They worked together in the NHS-
As loyal nurses they did their best-
After 35 years they then took a rest!
Along the way I have to say,
Many friends have given them joy-
Through thick & thin they have been there…
This is proof that God really does care!!
And through it all they brought up 3 pearls…
Believe it or not, that’s us 3 girls!
With 8 grandchildren, Granddad’s pride and joy,
From the youngest little girl, to the eldest strapping boy!
Dad had the ability to always be there,
To cheer us on so we knew he did care.
The world’s greatest at giving a hug,
And Dad was always drinking tea from a giant mug!
Charming and cheeky wrapped up in one,
He loved us all so well and knew how to have fun!
As his youngest I must say how Dad inspired me,
To live a life of faith by sharing God’s story.
To reach out to the many, who otherwise would not know,
The love and grace of God and the way He desires them to go.
To live in foreign lands and serve through ministry.
I believe I follow the dream, of both my Dad and me!
We give thanks to the Lord for Dad’s faithful heart
And we know for his family, he fought not to part.
But then one day God called Dad home…
To the place where he will never feel alone.
No weeping, no pain, nor physical strain.
Dad has finally reached, his much preached destination,
The Lord’s peaceful place entered by salvation.
We said “Goodnight”, but you took your flight,
And entered Heaven’s eternal light!
Dad’s final plea to you and me,
Is to “put your hand in the hand of the man from Galilee –
The same Lord Jesus who calmed the sea “.
These were always Dad’s parting words to me,
So I pray that you too would listen to his plea
And trust the Lord Jesus Implicitly.
God Bless you all.
Daddy- 16.01.1935 ~ 02.02.2020
By your youngest, Julia