We again reach the summer edition of The Gazette, a double issue to accommodate the fact that schools close and those with children have the opportunity to take holidays. We are grateful for the number of young families and children that we have as part of our congregation these days, so we will see spaces in our services in the coming weeks. The summer holidays also mark the time when big change takes place for certain children and young people; those completing school education await the results of ‘A’ levels and make the move to university or their first job. At a younger age children have to leave the security of primary school to move to the overwhelming masses of secondary/comprehensive school. Then there are those who will leave mum for the first time to spend the whole day at school. I’m not sure who suffers most in that move – mum or the children!
Each of these steps in life brings uncertainty, the same uncertainty that is experienced by all of us as we face the changes caused by life. There are a number of Psalms that list the changes faced by God’s people as they made their journey from Egypt to God’s prepared and Promised Land (e.g. Pss. 78; 104). They are honest about the struggles that our fellow human beings felt as God asked them to trust Him. There was not always the greatest level of trust and sadly that brought seeming hindrance to, but never cancellation of the purposes of God.
We live in a day and in a society where the purposes of God clearly laid out in the Bible are opposed and people want to write laws and make decisions contrary to God’s plan for His creation. They seem to think that somehow God has been dethroned, but the Bible says quite clearly,
‘My counsel shall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose’, (Isaiah 46:10)
God’s purposes will be worked out whether we cooperate with Him or not.
There are many great truths in the Bible related to this confidence. Although at present God is despised by many and His glory is treated as a disgrace we are confident that “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” (Hab. 2:14) Many despise the Lord Jesus Christ, but the day is coming when “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil 2:10f) The Church is ridiculed by many, but again we know that the Church will be fully prepared and will both enjoy and display the glory of God, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” “And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.” (Rev. 21:9-11)
A generation of God’s Old Testament People missed out on the blessings and privileges of His Promised Land because they saw the problems and lacked faith. Many at the beginning of the New Testament missed the privilege of learning from the Lord Jesus Christ, because they could not believe that God would use ‘a carpenter’ as a great teacher, miracle worker and Messiah. We are no different from them. We find it so difficult to trust God to lead us in the same way as He has led His people down through history. William Carey, Hudson Taylor, Charles H Spurgeon … all moved on with God in faith and ‘changed the shape of ministry’.
Our children and young people will set an example this autumn as they move forward in life may God give each of us the grace the cope with the blessings that He has prepared for us as we move forward in faith with Him.
I trust that you will all have a restful and blessed summer holiday.
Yours for His Glory,
Bernard Lewis July 2015