Thanks to Elaine Dew for our thought for the day for this coming Sunday.
Don’t be lonely, it’s just God wanting a private word
Around this time 35 years ago, my husband phoned me from work one day to say that he had been advised that his offices were closing, and he would be made redundant in due course. This was the first of 3 occasions on which such news would be delivered to us as a family.
At that time our children were aged 7 and 4. I was a stay at home mum, and we had a mortgage to pay. An option was to relocate to Taunton but that meant that we would leave every member of our extended family and friends, all the life we had ever known.
Although we had half expected this news, I felt my legs buckle under me and I sat on the stairs (our phone was in the hallway) and started to cry. But then, the words of Martin Luther’s hymn (StF 623) based on Psalm 46 ‘A safe stronghold our God is still, A trusty shield and weapon’ came into my head, given I now realise in hindsight, with the power of the Holy Spirit. It kept me strong through all the trials that a forced move makes.
But without that move, I would never have come to Bishops Lydeard, to the beauty of the Quantocks out of my bedroom window each day; to have become a Brownie and Guide Guider with all the fun of being with young people; to follow the career path I did in training so many tentative young mums to do the most important job of caring for and educating young children; my children would never have met their wonderful ‘other halves’ and my 3 grandchildren would have been probably very different.
Looking back, there could not have been a better time for such an event to happen – the children were about to change school in one instance and start in the other. My father had not long retired and could move nearby a few months after we had settled. Life was more pleasant out of the city, healthier and we found the most welcoming church in which to worship and grow in God’s love.
I learnt that God knows our needs better than we know them ourselves; that to place our lives into his hands and be guided by him is the path to take for he is ‘The Way, the Truth and the Life’ and whatever we do he has ‘unconditional love’ for us – the love that gave his ONLY SON that we might have life everlasting.
Each one of us has a different Bible passage that gives special comfort to us. For some it could be a well-loved passage like Psalm 23 or 1 Corinthians chapter 13; for others it might be a single verse such as the final one of Matthew’s gospel (ch 28 v 20). ‘Remember I am with you always, to the end of the age’.
Turn now to whatever your ‘comfort passage’ might be and read it slowly, savouring every precious word.
Then sing the first verse of your favourite hymn and remember what it is that speaks to you.
We pray: Loving and compassionate God, you know us better than we know ourselves. You are our rock and fortress; the creator of all that has been, all that is, all that is to come. We marvel at the wonders of your creation, at the vastness of the universe in which we are placed; at the intricacies of every living thing and are amazed at the way all life links together. Thank you, Lord.
At this time of crisis, we remember that you are alongside us. You hold us securely and love us completely no matter what our sins, for you are gracious and merciful. We pray for the world, for those of our sisters and brothers also facing this crisis but without a roof over their head, food on their plate or sanitation to help keep them clean. We pray for those who are caring for the sick, helping their neighbours and being a friend; and for ourselves, that the time you have given us to be quiet will enable us to reflect and draw closer to you.
Be safe with the blessing of our God of love, with the friendship of our Lord Jesus and in the strength and power of his Holy Spirit remains with us all. Amen.