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Viewpoint from Mary Ives 24/04/2015 

MARY GILBERTas published in the Yarmouth Mercury

Mary Ives
previously Area Director of YMCA Norfolk

How strange life can be. Sometimes what we expect to happen doesn’t and the most unexpected things do! Recently, on holiday in North Cyprus, we were stunned to be out in the first snowfall they had had in over twenty years. Choosing a destination for a bit of winter sun is quite limited if you don’t want to fly across the Atlantic, so looking at average temperatures for February we thought this might be a good choice. In many ways it was – an absolutely fascinating place with an amazing heritage, but obviously a place where the unexpected happened. Children in that country had never seen snow, and cars were stopping on mountain roads for people to get out and make snowballs. One family stopped, made a snowman and placed it on the front of their car before continuing their journey! I wonder how long it lasted before melting. We were thankful the snow didn’t last long or spoil our holiday, but for the locals it was a stunning experience and very exciting

dove leftHowever, it was because the temperature dipped that our hotel, not usually equipped for such low temperatures, lit a fire in the lounge each evening. Lots of people gathered in front of this and chatted, which for us added to the charm of the holiday. We were privileged to get to know people better than we would have done if it weren’t for the cold, as we sat and chatted around the fire

It is often like this in life. Things which we would perhaps not normally think are good for us, turn into something much better than we could imagine. As a Christian I see this as God working in my life. I have been through many difficulties and problems – being a Christian certainly doesn’t make you immune to them. Even Mother Theresa struggled with problems, but working through them increased her faith. Martin Luther King suggested that there were two options – life’s great trials can make us either bitter or better, but no experience we have is wasted. We learn through our experiences and this learning often helps us to understand others better

Dove rightJesus taught us to love one another and care for those who are less fortunate than ourselves. He told the story of the Good Samaritan. He was travelling the road from Jerusalem to Jericho when he saw an injured man lying by the roadside. The man had been attacked by thieves who had taken his possessions. Lying there he was helpless and hopeless. The Samaritan was a stranger and quite unwelcome in normal circumstances. However, for the injured man, he was a Godsend as he tended his wounds and took him to a place of safety

How do you react to difficult circumstances? Do you blame God or trust Him to bring you through and use these circumstances for good?