Tag Archives: god

When the rug is pulled from under your feet

14 Jun

“We aren’t going to be able to keep you on I’m afraid”. That sentence came from my boss last week as he explained that they wouldn’t be able to work around my new university placement. Part of me had braced myself to hear this – it was expected – I felt peaceful. The other part felt like the rug had been pulled from beneath my feet as I held back tears at the thought of losing a secure job that I loved. Questions flooded my mind – how will I afford my course fees? How will we pay the bills? How on earth will I find a job to fit around my clinic hours (I’m a trainee Psychotherapist)? Will we be able to stay in our flat?

We have all had moments like this. A phone call or an email that sharply changes the direction of our lives or our plans. I remember being told at the age of seven that my sister had a cancer –  in that moment life as I knew it was to change forever. Many of us have have been the receiver of a simple short sentence that feels like a punch in the stomach or instantly finds us asking huge questions about life and scrabbling for new coping mechanisms. They can find us running to God, or away from him in confusion. 

I have had five simple words in my mind for the past few weeks – I think God has been preparing my heart for the uncertainty of what is to come.  He does that sometimes – he paves the way, prepares us. I want to share them with you in the hopes that they too can be written on your heart – Nothing takes God by surprise

So what do we do in the face of uncertainty, unanswered questions, shaking foundations or circumstances that simply don’t make sense?

1- Know that God has not been taken by surprise. He has gone before you, he has paved the way, you are not walking on untrodden ground. I find such comfort in the Psalms 139 v 5 which says ‘You hem me in, behind and before. You have laid you hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty to attain’.

2 – Be still and know that God is God (Psalm 46v10). When you study the Hebrew translation of this verse, it translates to ’cause yourself to let-go, to become weak’. Let go of your own plans, your own desire for control on the circumstance, and ask God for the strength to trust in his all-sufficiency, his all-knowing, his love for the detail. What a testament to all those around you, when they see you calm in the face of a storm thanks to a peace that surpasses all earthly understanding.

3- Trust what you know of God. Reflect on the ways he has intervened in history (your own history and biblical history) and share faith boosting stories of when God has more than showed up.

So, I am trying to live this out right now. Oh I have moments of anxiety and fear – wondering how this awkward looking jigsaw is going to fit together. But a calm peace quietens them as I reflect on the fact that my God is able to move mountains, and he has faithfully got me this far!

It’s all testimony in the making.

Watch this space – he’s gonna pull it off… again!

 

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Business as usual

26 May


Isn’t there something comforting about the term ‘Business as usual’? Everything is happening as it always does, as you would expect. Work, planning summer holidays, nights out, the same old banter and tensions. Nothing too exciting, nothing too awful – predictable and comfy.

So on the one hand, I like it. Life throws at us all sorts of challenges, twists, turns and unexpected crises. We have all had the phone call that changes everything, or a shock that quickly redirects our path – and at these times we can often yearn for good-old ‘business as usual’. 

But on the other hand – the term presents such a huge challenge to us. We want to live radical lives of abundant generosity that reflect the Father – but how can we if we hold onto the comfort of ‘business as usual’?

On a conference this weekend, I heard a statement that has prominently echoed in my heart and mind ever since. Here it is..

“Unless something disrupts business as usual, business as usual is how we will live out our life”

What happens to you when you read this? Where does your mind go? My mind goes straight to the verse in Matthew 10:8: “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.”

So what bridges the gap between ‘business as usual’ or healing the sick, praying with other Christians for your workplace and family or seeing healing and revival
Supernatural living that’s what! Not just praying supernaturally, but living supernaturally.

This mandate that is handed to us, this commission, this request to pray, heal, deliver…what can we do with it? How can we walk forward in supernatural living without resorting to our default of ‘business as usual’?

We need to push into our relationship with God. Pray for ourselves, for one another and with one another to be filled up to overflowing with the spirit. Only then we will leak the fruits as well as gain a new confidence and zest for the word. Only then can we live out of an overflow rather than tire ourselves out trying to fulfill a mandate that wasn’t intended for the ‘natural’ life anyway. 

So what will it be? A risky, radical, God soaked life? Or simply ‘business as usual’?

Botch-jobs and fast-food

10 May

Botch jobs go wrong – sooner or later. TV programs are devoted to lazy surgeons operating without truly knowing what they’re doing, and cowboy builders doing jobs worthy of announcing your home as a hazard.

Your God isn’t a God of the botch job

I apologise lads, this is about to get a tad girly. Because what better picture of the anti-botch job exists than a Pearl? I have lots of ‘pearls’; my current favourite are huge – the size of sweetshop gobstoppers. Most people own cultured, processed, farmed or plastic pearls, but very few people own real, natural pearls.

Real pearls are expensive and rare (1 in 10,000 oysters) and cherished. So cherished in fact that in Matthew 13:44 a man sold all he had to buy a field containing one.

How many of us want fast-food-style responses to our prayers. Prayers quickly answered with obvious effect.  Botch-job answers.  We pray for those we love, our students, our campus and we want answers NOW.  If we don’t see the fruits of our prayers in days, weeks, months, we begin to ask questions of God. Is he listening? Does he care? Surely our prayers are in line with him

The natural pearl is formed over ten years; layer upon layer is built around an irritant or a tiny speck of sand, encased in a fleshy oyster in the secret depths of the seas. And God works in those secret places, in the depths of identities and spiritual strongholds. He works in people from the inside out, from the secret depths, moving through to the outside behaviors that we see and often use as a measure of ‘where people are at’.

I want to encourage you in your prayers – prayers for your friends, your situations, your campuses. Prayers that you might not have seen answers to yet and perhaps you are disheartened about. Keep praying – trust that your prayers are that speck of sand that form the irritant for the change, habit or the heart behind the campus. An irritant that provokes dis-ease, and questioning at the very core, questions that shake foundations and shine lights into dark places.

Plastic pearls loose their value and shine, real pearls are of value throughout. Just as quick change can loose it’s shine if the real groundwork and foundations aren’t there, deep, timely change can last a life time.

It’s in the discomfort of the process, the confusion of the patience and the gentleness of the Father that true pearls are formed, and true, deep change comes about.

‘We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised’ Hebrews 6:12