Though far from being a slave, the American singer Louis Armstrong would, as a mid-twentieth century American Negro, have related closely to the words of a song which he sang: 'Nobody knows the trouble I've seen.' Born and raised in apartheid South Africa I know all about trouble, about being unwelcome, unwanted. At worst, viewed as a sub-species. Who was there to speak-up for us? Who was there to stand along-side us? Who, if anyone, could make a difference?
As a child, who was there to challenge those who called my mum a baboon? As a student, who was there when the riot police arrived with their batons to punish us for standing in a 'Whites only' queue? As a wife, who was there when gangsters led my husband away at gunpoint, and I expected them to return for me? As a mother, who was there when that same husband, having finished with beating me, would then threaten our children? As a divorced, single parent, who cared when the bank repossessed our home, installing one of their own employees and leaving us on the street? As a sibling and a daughter, who shared my grief when, in the space of three short weeks, first my younger sister and then my mother died? And I was in the UK, with no money and my children back in South Africa.
Through all that - and a lot more - my Jesus was with me. But if all my troubles were multiplied ten thousand times over, that would be as nothing compared with the trouble I'd be in on Judgement Day without my Jesus being there also. When God calls my name and points His finger, His own Son will speak for me, will not only stand along-side me, but stand in my judgement place. JESUS makes all the difference.
He made a poor sinner like me welcome, wanted, special. And if I despair of guilt within, or circumstances without, He never despairs, but shapes all things for my good. The Bible never promised us a trouble-free life - if anything quite the opposite - it does promise that Our Lord will help us through and guide us safe home.
It's a privilege and joy to sing of my Redeemer, shelter, protector and Lord.
— Vivienne More on the occasion of her baptism 2010.
Central Baptist Church Chelmsford is a community church which is open seven days a week. We are a Bible-believing Baptist church with a multicultural and all-age congregation.
You can find out more about us here.