Trust

It’s hard to trust sometimes. We put our faith in what we believe God has called us to do, but then things don’t go the way we expect, or we wind up getting hurt.

Last year was an awful year for my wife and me. A relatively straightforward operation we trusted God to helpp with the finances for – and received them just five minutes before the hospital would have cancelled the procedure – resulted in a mis-diagnosed infection that nearly killed her afterwards. It would be easy not to trust after that.

God is faithful though. He provided us with another doctor who was able to intervene and help her through towards recovery.

This year has started off in a similar vein. We are trusting God to provide financially for us through our business. Just as things are starting to go smoothly, we have been the victims of an armed robbery at the premesis. The temptation is to close up or sell off. But what we must do is trust.

Trust is hard. We have to overcome our natural urges sometimes to trust God. Proverbs urges us “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death” (Proverbs 16:25 ESV) Death not necessarily meaning physical extinction, but also the end of a dream or an experience that God would rather not end.

The answer is to trust Him.

No matter what.

Loss and the Body of Christ

26 Years ago today, my younger brother died in a road accident. He’d have been 35 now, probably married with kids of his own and a life full of adventure and daring. He was lively and a lot of fun to be around.

His best friend suffered from a form of Brittle Bone syndrome, but that didn’t slow him down. Robin always wanted to be around Carl and I hope Carl wante to be round him!

One year I broke my arm in scouts and had to spend a week in the local hospital so they could stabilise it. Carl was in for a routine op on his legs, to strengthen the bones and extend them. He had his bed moved s it was next to mine. It was cool. We had a TV with a video casette player of “Flash Gordon”, a movi I had never wanted to see, but after five days of it morning to night I could recite the lines, and Queen songs were starting to grow on me.

Ispent a lot of time chatting with Carl that week. His brother came for visiting, as did mine, and Robin and Carl would go off whicle Neil and I would sit and chat. We’d been friends at primary school,  but had drifted apart a bit  – my fault: I’m terrible at keeping in touch with people I know. Neil told me about Carl’s dream. Radio Presenter. I listened and the more I did, the more I felt God had inspired this. He accepted his disability and wanted to advance despite it.

Robin had the same attitude. No physical ability to hold him back, just a habit of doing things withouit thought of the consequences. February 20th 1985 he went out of our home on his bicycle and never came home. He was excited and itching to get to his destination to play – as all 9 or 10 year old boys do. He went, played HARD – the only he knew and headed off home to play Chuckie-Egg on the new BBC Micro Computer.

Part way home he changed his mind. He’d turn off and go to wave at the lorries driving under the bridge of the A1 Dual Carriageway just across the housing estate. “I’ll cut through here” he would have thought, then pulled violently out towards his new destination…

The driver never stood a chance. Robin’s reflexes were focussed on the next play and how best to get to it, not traffic.

He pulled out, struck the corner of the driver’s car and slid up the bonnet, falling back down to the street, landing on his skull and losing consciousness.

An hour later I got a call at a friend’s house. Robin’s had an accident. He may need to go to hospital.

I ran home – half the time it normally took – and pushed open the gate to be welcomed by his badly mangled little bike.

Very badly mangled… blood on the frame… Robin’s Blood.

“It should have been you” First thought in my brain.
“IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN YOU”

The self accusation went on for weeks.

The funeral came and went, the rest of the world moved on, and I sat with my thoughts every day on his grave. “It should have been me. I’m Sorry.”

He didn’t get up, of course. I didn’t know about Spiritual Authority back then.

I lived with the guilt for years until God brought the right person into my life. Jim is the most Brash and abrasive person if you don’t know him, but there’s an amazing passion or God in his heart. He helped e to move past the death and see it from a more than just human perspective, from a REAL perspective.

He told me to give it to God and wait. So I did. Eventually I began to get impatient, I wanted healing and a serious explanation, Wait.

Wait…

Wait…

after days of waiting I was distraught. My brother was dead and I was still weak. I waited on God and I just sat there. I got angry. I got angry with Robin for dying, Myself for not being there, mum and dad for letting him go out, the driver – who never had a chance of preventing the accident – the ambulances for not getting there faster, the police for being so TALL when they told us, then finally at GOD.

I ripped into Him with every ounce of venom I had. Once I’d vented He said “Are you done now?”

“Yes”

“Will you let Me heal you  now?”

“Yes”

I feel the loss of Robin every day. It shaped my life from that moment forwards, just as much as my dad’s illness, my mum’s stroke, my wife’s ongoing battle with sickness. It’s all there, ut I rise up on wings like an eagle. I have been given strength from God and I can cope because of it.

I will wait on the Lord to renew my Strength. He will lift me jup and place me where I’m made to be.

A Household Pet?

Dorothy L Sayers wrote “We have very efficiently pared the claws of the Lion of Judah,” turning Jesus “into a household pet for pale curates and pious old ladies.”

The more I consider it, the more it seems to be true. We ask very little of God these days. Jesus’ Name was given that all may be saved, not that we can find the trivial little efforts we use it for today.


Now I’m NOT saying we can’t ask God for the details. He cares about every aspect of our lives down to the minutest molecule. I was marvelling at the intricacy of the flowers on the mint plant in my garden yesterday, and the tiny detail in it. Everything serves a greater purpose so He can be Glorified through it’s existence.


Rather we must ask God for the details He wants for us. He is a fierce God who jealously guards the lives entrusted to Him. His plans are complete and good, with a plan for prosperity for His people. To prosper we have to step on toes sometimes. Spiritual prosperity inevitably involves doing and saying things that will offend the beliefs of others. Christianity is radically different from Islam, Hinduism or the myriad of other beliefs in the world. It should offend the religious sensitivities of others. If my Christianity doesn’t differentiate me from a Muslim, I’m not living it right!


Now I’m NOT saying we must set out to upset our Muslim neighbours. Don’t get me wrong on this. I have friends who are devout Muslims and good people, their beliefs are strong, and they are moral and solid people. The issue is that ultimately they do not have a relationship with Jesus, and they are not in right standing with God as a result.


Yet we as a people have forgotten our history. 2000 years ago Christians were persecuted by the major power of the day to the point of being murdered. They were fierce in their resistance of the power behind the World, and didn’t worry about offending the religious sensibilities of those with worldly power to kill, imprison or torture them.


In our modern Western societies, this power has been abandoned, and the pared claws Dorothy Sayers wrote of a century ago are more apparent than ever.


It’s time for the Church to rise up and sharpen those claws. We need to recapture the fire and the passion that drove men like the Wesleys, William Booth and St Paul to accept persecution and ridicule, even to the point of Death.

Even When the Road is Darkest…

My wife and I have been going through a rough time this last year. Neither of us has had the fullness of health that we would like, but she has had far the worst end of it.

Following surgery last April she got an infection which her surgeon didn’t pick up. This infection spread through her body and began to break down the body itself. After five months she sought a second opinion, and was admitted to hospital for 3 weeks in an attempt to save her life. Thankfully it worked, although she is still far from fully recovered.

Our road has been very dark for nearly a year, yet Jesus has always been there to guide us. Just when we’ve needed Him the most something has happened in order for His Love to break through the darkness and pick us up.

Peter walked on water. He began to sink when he took his eyes off Christ. Physically I used to try to walk on water when I was a kid. Never once did I begin to sink. It was always “PLOP!” followed by “glug glug glug” as I went under. Even now, as an adult I don’t begin to sink.

I sink.

I float like a rock.

Like a rock wearing lead shoes.

You get the idea.

Spiritually things are different though. At my darkest times, when the road is at it’s most daunting and the waves seem like they will overpower me at any moment He breaks through and, like He did with Peter, halts my sinking before I can drown. He holds my hand and lifts me up until I am safe again.

When the road is darkest He is there walking beside you. No matter how bad things are, He’s there – waiting for you to ask for His help.