Testimony Tuesday // Aidan
All of a sudden, foundations that I'd never known to be shaken were torn out from under my feet... Only for me to to find that my foundations lie elsewhere.
I'd just come home from the St Aldates student weekend away after my second term at university. I was in a good place with God, loving being at uni, had finished my exams - things were going well for me.
I was sat in the lounge at home enjoying the start of the holiday when my mum came into the room, and told me with a serious look on her face that there was something they needed to talk to me about. Bemused, I looked over to Dad, who looked sad. My thoughts: "Maybe one of them has cancer or something?" Then came the words that shook me: "It's about our relationship."
They proceeded to tell me that, after much consideration, they were separating. I sat in disbelief, just feeling numb. I couldn't believe what was happening. It had always seemed like a happy home, I'd never really seen them argue or anything, I just couldn't understand it.
It didn't take long for the numbness to wear off. I went out for a walk, and the disbelief turned to hurt and anger. I wept bitterly, questioned God, and just felt like the life I'd known was crumbling down around me.
When I got back home, my parents drove off to where my brother was living to break the news to him. And much to my surprise, I found myself heading upstairs to my room, picking up my guitar, and starting to worship God.
Why worship? Why, at this time, when I'd never felt lower or more hurt, did I want to worship God? Well, certainly God gave me the strength to worship because there was no way I had the strength in myself at the time. But also, I had a real sense of feeling like there was simply nowhere else I could turn. Normally in low moments I would have turned to my family, but when that foundation was removed I realised more truly than ever that Jesus was the firm foundation that my life was built upon.
I know foundations talk can sound cliché, but it's such a key thing to realise and live out in your faith. Growing up, it's only natural for your parents, who have raised you & taught you so much, to seem like an unshakeable constant when things felt difficult. So it was only in that moment of seeing their human frailty that I truly understood it was Jesus alone that I could always lean upon and always be upheld.
As I worshipped I started playing Matt Redman's classic song, Blessed Be Your Name. And through the tears I declared that it was God I was trusting and directing my heart towards, as I sung:
Blessed be Your Name
On the road marked with suffering
When there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your Name...
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Blessed be Your Name
And as the weeks and months progressed after that life-changing day, my honest experience was that, despite the pain, I knew so deeply just how much the Lord was holding me and giving me strength and comfort.
Last summer I had the joy of getting married. And, having exchanged vows & rings and been declared husband & wife, the first thing we did was to sing with everyone gathered that same song that had given words to my desperation 8 years earlier, Blessed Be Your Name. And as we sung, I remembered that time, and I thanked God for his faithfulness to me through the trials, for giving me strength to turn to him and for pouring out his comfort upon me, as well as the blessing I was now experiencing.
Having embarked upon a lifetime of love and commitment and self-sacrifice with my wife Kay, I now have the privilege of becoming a father in the next few months. And having experienced the pain of my parents' divorce as I grew up, I now know that God has given me the opportunity to write a different story for my son and any other children we may have. A chance to raise him with a firm foundation of parental love, but more importantly in the knowledge of an infinitely firmer and truer foundation of Jesus Christ, the cornerstone.
"See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
will never be put to shame." (Isaiah 28:16)