Minister’s Letter – November 2019

11Here is a trustworthy saying:
If we died with him, we also live with him;
12If we endure, we will also reign with him.
If we disown him, He will also disown us;
13If we are faithless, He remains faithful,
For he cannot disown himself. (2nd Timothy NIVUK)

I very rarely use these letters as an opportunity to give you a personal update, but on this occasion, I do need to share something with you all.

I’ve had some health difficulties over the past month. I can assure you I am seeking the appropriate help and support; this has, however, necessitated that I take things more slowly for the time being. I am letting you know about this for a few of reasons: first, to make you aware that I am not as well as I would like; second, to let you know the reason I may be unable to keep up with all my usual ministry tasks, and ask your forbearance with this while I recover; finally, to seek your prayers and support, which I know are readily available, as I have already enjoyed these things in my 3 years as your minister.

My health concerns are not serious, but I have found myself wondering often why God doesn’t just use His power to return me to health. If I can have such an attitude, then I can understand why those with more serious health concerns may struggle with God’s apparent inaction.

I don’t have the space here to explore the complex reasons why God allows us to suffer, but I have recently learned two lessons, which I hope will encourage you.

First – God cares more about us and our sufferings that we often realise. As you know, Ruth and I are expecting our first child, and she put it like this: “Imagine our child is ill. They are distressed, but you are just as distressed, if not more so, as the parent looking on”. We are God’s children; He is our parent: He cares for us more than we realise!

Second –when we “fall out” with God over Him not doing things what we wish, He remains faithfully committed to us. That’s what Paul was articulating in the verses above. There is a difference between disowning and being faithless: disowning is complete rejection of God, whereas faithlessness is something we all grapple with – even those of us who have long followed God. We wrestle with doubts, we question, we rant and cry out to the Heavens, but we always hold to a belief in Him.

The picture painted is that, once we have spent necessary time working these things through, God remains faithful: His arms remain open to receive us once again. His love always endures, His grace is unending, His patience holds strong, and He always accepts us back when we return to Him. All we need do is just that: return to Him! It’s why we can sing:

“What a faithful God have I! Faithful in every way!”

May God bless you,