Bonfire night is one of my favorite nights of the year. It’s the simple pleasures: I love the chilly night air, getting dressed up so snugly and standing in a field with the people that you love, hot chocolate in hand. I love the excitement of knowing that the fireworks are about to start. I love the buzz of the crowd; people who have no connection other than an expectation of something big. I love seeing familiar faces and old friends as the entire town comes together, wellies sinking fast into the muddy grass.
This year was the best year yet for fireworks: having moved this year to a house near the centre of town, I had a cozy night in with friends, watched a movie, and then we moved outside and stood in the center of our street, five foot away from the front door, in our pyjamas and fuzzy socks, to watch the fireworks display in the green at the end of the road; the best view in town.
I stood next to my wonderful housemate and her boyfriend – the best company I could wish for in that moment – and couldn’t stop a smile cracking accross my face as the fireworks started. I was looking down a beautiful Cambridge street, rooftops and trees on either side, with glorious fireworks exploding over the top. I pinched myself – yes, this was where I got to stand at that moment in my life.
I don’t know if you’ve ever had one of these moments – but as I stood there, quite inexplicably, my heart jumped into my mouth. “God, WHY am I standing her, watching this on my own? Why don’t I get someone standing next to me?!” It wasn’t something I had realized I was struggling with until that moment – and then man, that was difficult. No longer concentrating on the fireworks, my mind was racing over the last day, month, years – stood next to one of my closest friends and her other half, my mind was filled with that giant question mark.
But suddenly, the most glorious firework burst overhead, and I felt God tear my attention back to that street. “Dude – look up”. He said. “Look how awesome your life is. You get the fireworks – you get to run with so many incredible things. Why are you worrying about who it is that is standing next to you?!”
Life with God is this crazy, great adventure: it’s not a boring life, and it’s not a life of passivity. 2 Peter 1:3-4 says this:
“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his great and precious promises, so that through them you might participate in the divine nature”
Here’s the promise that we have from God: he has given us His glory and goodness, and we have great and precious promises from Him. Because of His promises, we get to participate in His divine nature. Life is about living in the promises that God has given us – every promise from God already has His yes and amen – and participating in the things that He is up to. I can’t imagine anything more exciting than that – full access to God and all that He is up to, and a life of adventure with Him.
We have everything that we need for a godly life, because of the things that Jesus did for us on the cross. This is what I said yes to when I accepted Jesus: all of my sin, shame, all of my old person gone – and replaced with a new life, full of hope and future. This is what we say yes to – we say yes to His good promises, we say yes to His hope and His future, we say yes to a life of running with Him.
This changes e v e r y t h i n g – this means that your life has so much value. You get to run down that road, and watch the fireworks bursting above your head, a view full of so much promise. You are full of His life, and you get to bring that life to those around you. You get to be hope to the hopeless, you get to bring His light into the darkness, you get to see people set free and you get to let hearts fall in love with Him in the same way that yours did.
And when I do meet the person that I am going to marry, I need them to be running at the same speed as me; they’re going to have to keep up, because this race with Jesus is pretty special. It’s too special for me to be able to slow down or come off the track for them. I know that the man that God has for me is going to run alongside me, joining in the adventure.
So for now, I’m not going to be looking over my shoulder or wondering why he’s not next to me, and I’m definitely not going to stop.
For now, I’m going to chase the fireworks.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” Hebrews 12:1