Knowing God’s Perspective
So just over halfway through lockdown number 2. I wonder how you are doing. In lockdown number 1, we were entering into the unknown and gave ourselves to enduring, even making the best of, the strange circumstances we found ourselves in. This time, many of us are weary, the days and weeks blur, and our thoughts keep returning to whether we will be able to see our families and friends somehow over Christmas. But what is God’s perspective? Over the last months, in the newsletter, we have reflected on some encouraging, inspiring, and challenging thoughts, and, the truth is, they still stand. God is still for us, and has purpose for us, in these difficult days.
Remember John Ansell’s picture of how the seeds in the cones of sequoia trees are exposed when they encounter heat, enabling them to be sown and germinated. So, God is using the pressure of the hard times we are in to open us up that the seeds He has placed in us might grow.
I wrote about the celery stump we had planted for fun and the new celery plant that grew from its centre. Well, this is what it looks like now – 18 inches high and still going strong! Reflecting further, like Caroline in her recent Thought for the Day, we have been asking what new things God might want us to do. Is what we have been doing as FCC up ’til now suitable for what God has in mind for the future? What are the new things he is bringing from the old, and where does he want to start afresh, for the sake of the harvest?
There has been a sound across the churches, that God is on the move, yet here we are in another lockdown. What’s that about? Think back to the questions Caroline raised from Ephesians, just before lockdown 2 began: Are we growing in our knowing? Are we making a home fit for the king? Are we enjoying and overflowing with God’s love? Are we becoming more like Christ each day? As I have been seeking to answer them honestly before God, it’s been uncomfortable. But those words were underlined again as I listened to Phil Moore (pastor of Everyday Church, London) who shared that he believed this lockdown number 2 is not about activity but about learning to wait on God and to spend time with Him so that we might rediscover our first love, out of which all that God is wanting to do will flow. So, change is on God’s heart for us as individuals.
And change is on God’s heart for us as a church. But this is not a time for planning, it’s a time for preparation – clearing and preparing the ground for God to do a new thing. Who can make plans right now? It’s impossible! But we can respond to God drawing us to Himself and we can encourage one another with the revelation that He brings. Whatever our gatherings look like in the future, whatever activity begins again in the church, God is calling us to start now in the secret place – to lay aside our own agendas and search for his. I’m excited to see the new things he will sow, and the new life he will grow out of the stump!