Friday, 1 May 2015

Don't Panic!!!

Although it wasn't planned this way, the increasing theme of this sabbatical seems to be around the area of trusting God. I guess the whole theology of sabbath and sabbatical is fundamentally an issue of faith and trust. Right at the foundation of the world we are set an example of sabbath - of rest - by God himself as though He wanted us to know right from the beginning that non-stop frantic activity is not how God wants us to be or how He wants us to live.

Im not good at stopping and being still, not good at resting and so perhaps my faith and trust levels are not as high as I would like them to be. Its as though frantic activity, the need to be doing doing doing says to ourselves, to others, and ultimately to God that we are indispensable, He cannot do with out our doing. I remember a wise college lecturer saying to us that a day off was an act of faith - a statement that even when we are not exerting energy the world will not stop turning, for it is Gods work anyway not ours.

I think of all the people I have worked with who thought time off was almost a sin, a sign of neglect of God's work, rather than a statement of faith that says there is One bigger, greater and more able than I.

I write all this in the context of a week for us that has been full-on with frantic activity. I am due to fly to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea in a matter of hours (writing this from an airport cafe) and although we had planned to have all our preparation done well in advance to enable us, maybe naively, to have a relaxed family week, we have been rushing from pillar to post to get VISA's sorted, borrow all sorts of things from friends, pack, re-pack, buy last minute essentials, collect items that need to be taken to missionaries stationed in PNG and etc etc. This has hardly been a week of rest and relaxation. I would love to tell you how I have quietly trusted God all along and rested in His peace amidst the various upheavals! Nothing could be further from the trust, as I have panicked, panicked, panicked!

I'm reminded of Corporal Jones in the sitcom 'Dads Army' whose catchphrase of 'Don't panic' was almost always accompanied with frantic activity as he, yes panicked!

So to return to the beginning, this sabbatical is increasingly about learning to trust God when the plans I make seem to take another direction, to remember that I am dispensable and that He is big, is great and is Eternal. In the context of ministry, I need to learn that God is ultimately in control, and ultimately He is responsible for the outcome of His work. My task is to be regularly available, willing and faithful, and to have enough faith not to try to grasp the outcome for myself but to trust Him in all things.

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