Can you understand the mysteries surrounding God All- Powerful?
– Job 11: 7 (CEV)
Well, I should now be on Sabbatical enjoying that planned three month break from ministry to reflect and recharge my batteries, but instead I am preparing to start a new job as Spiritual Care Co-ordinator at St Christopher’s Hospice. Things can quickly change in life and we can sometimes be left wondering: why is this happening and what is God doing? Sometimes changes can seem very detrimental to us, like a sudden illness or accident or finding that your church has lost its minister, and leave us wondering how we will cope. No doubt the news of my departure is causing some unrest.
Our quote above is taken from the book of Job. He faced many upsets in life and was left reeling from their impact. But even positive changes can have a negative impact on us. I’m not good at change – I like things settled – so the upheaval of a new job, starting again, facing the unknown, different challenges, finding a new home and so on all make me feel uneasy and that it would have been a lot easier just to stay doing what I was doing. We remember too that lots of our young people at this time are facing new schools and courses and the stresses they entail. Please pray for them.
Job had to learn that although he did not understand what was happening or understand God fully, God was so much more than Job thought he was. Job had to learn that life is uncontrollable, we are not God, we cannot make sure nothing bad happens or stop things from changing. But equally we can trust in God whatever happens and know God is with us and will help us face whatever we have to. In fact, we often learn more about God and grow in faith through these times of mystery and change.
We all face uncertainty and change in our lives, not just personally or as a church, but also as a country. Things are not good politically as I write this but things do need to change so we have a more equal and just society – but who knows what will happen?
May we know God, as Job did, as All-Powerful at this time and trust him to help and strengthen us as we seek to keep following his ways in all that we face.
I end with the words of William Cowper, known as a hymn but written as a poem called ‘Light shining out of the darkness’ – written after his attempt to commit suicide, a reminder of how even in the darkest moments there is hope.
God moves in a mysterious way, his wonders to perform;
he plants his footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines of never-failing skill,
he treasures up his bright designs, and works his sovereign will.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take, the clouds ye so much dread
are big with mercy, and shall break in blessings on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust him for his grace;
behind a frowning providence he hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast, unfolding every hour;
the bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower.
Blind unbelief is sure to err, and scan his work in vain;
God is his own interpreter, and he will make it plain.
– William Cowper, 1773
May God be with you all and keep you in his all powerful love.