A Covid Story: Rod

  • Real lives at CCD

This month’s “Real Lives” is a little different, with a reflection on one person’s lockdown. Rod has been a Christian since 1960. He began following Jesus after a ‘chance’ meeting at a train station with a man from Rod’s village. They only had time to trade phone numbers, but what Rod soon learned was that this childhood friend had become a Christian. It was through his example that Rod came to know Jesus’ forgiveness. Rod has been with Christ Church Deeside since 2005. I found it helpful to reflect on what Rod has written because God is so gracious and patient with us, even when we have regrets.
-E.M. Harding

You have asked me to write my testimony and I thought it would be helpful, for myself and everyone, to give testimony of God’s faithful dealings with me during this past year, when the ‘normal’, much valued support of the church’s ministry and fellowship has been restricted.  A kind of ‘Testimony during Covid’ became my objective.

This has proved very difficult to put together.  It is not because God has been unfaithful.  I have seen and known God’s great and merciful generosity in keeping and providing for me over these many months.  I have been thrilled by sermon, song, and scenery on many occasions.  There have been tears of joy and welling sensations of deep shame and conviction.  I think these times have been more frequent and often more intense than previously.  But I have not retained them in my mind, meditated on them, or talked to God about them in a real way.  The span of my concentration on, and contemplation of, them has been pitifully short.  My heart has veered off to the mundane and often to the profane all too quickly.  I haven’t, as the 17th century puritans would have put it, ‘improved’ the good words and sensations that God has graciously given me.  Worship, prayer, thankfulness, and repentance have been fleeting at best.  There seems to have been no growth in grace or spiritual fruit borne.  My love for my Saviour and desire to serve and please Him have been sluggish.  There has been little real desire to share time over spiritual matters with friends, really or virtually.  I have certainly not been anyone’s spiritual encourager or supporter.  The fate of the unsaved seems to be a ‘matter of fact’ rather than a spur to prayerfulness and active witness.  And perhaps worst of all, I am unable to sustain a genuine longing for all this to change!

My ‘Testimony during Covid’ is not at all that God has been unfaithful or careless.  On the contrary, He has been kind, patient, even indulgent with me.  My health has been good and my enjoyment of being alive is easy.  His word is not lacking in the truth and grace that applies to my situation.  I suppose the true testimony for this year is that He has been teaching me just how much He loves me, how much it is costing Him to keep me in that love and how shallow my appreciation is of all this.  But also that I AM NOT LISTENING AND LEARNING.  God is not the one falling short!  He continues to send me encouragements to believe and to trust; to return to “the rock that is higher than I.”

All this does not provide an inspiring and helpful testimony, I fear.  You would think that after more than 60 years in the faith I would have a testimony more glorifying to Him.

I do think that age is having an effect upon my ability to concentrate and think.  My attention span is worryingly short on all matters and writing even this much has been very hard work, with constant needs to reset the brain and return to the matter in hand.  This is a factor, not an excuse, but it is possible that this little ‘testimony’ might help some others in the fellowship to know that they are not alone or unique if they feel themselves to be falling short.  We all know to whom [God] we should go with our needs and disappointments and His word is full of reassurances, incentives and exhortations for us.  Some others may have helpful things they have learned in this kind of situation and can be encouraged to pass them on.

So this – perhaps I should call it an “Untestimony” – is offered with apologies, warmest greetings and a hearty concern that this has not been too discouraging to read.

– by Rod with E.M. Harding