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There are many things in life we must turn our backs on, but any renunciation we make for the gospel’s sake is so that we can embrace something positive. We must learn to see eschewing and embracing as two sides of the same coin, not things which are at odds with each other. As we turn from sin, we run towards Jesus; as we are freed from the demands of the slave-driver, we can rest in the arms of a loving heavenly Father.
Perhaps the most surprising thing I will urge us to embrace is repetition. Few of us like repetition, associating it with monotony, boredom and restriction. But I find that repetition is an inevitable part of life and one which is oddly liberating.
Each morning the sun rises and each evening the sun sets at God’s commands. Every day, the tides come in and go out. Those of us who are older than one year have got used to the regularity of the seasons and can look forward to each one with a sense of comfortable awe. This repetition in the natural world is key to understanding life. Many of us crave adventure and difference, always seeking new experiences, but there is much to be said for repetition. It reminds us of stability, faithfulness and the fact that God is unchanging. Doing the same things over and over again is not only the way to improvement (‘practice makes perfect’, as they say!) but an inevitable part of life. Instead of chafing against this, we need to embrace the patience of a God who always loves us and will always be faithful to us and to work with Him in routine and repetition, rather than against Him.
There will, indeed, be new experiences to face and adventures galore with God, but there will also be periods of repetition and monotony. Instead of grumbling and complaining about these periods, let’s learn from the natural world and embrace repetition as our opportunity to learn faithfulness and practise constancy to demonstrate something of God’s character in an ever-changing world.