Well, here we are at the beginning of another New Year! Perhaps we look back at the past year with a lot of thankfulness for all the good things that came into our lives and we hope for more this year. Or we may be thankful that the year behind us is over because it held difficult and painful times. Our experience may well have been a mixture of good and bad, joy and sorrow and we wonder, as we stand on the threshold of another year, what this year will have in store.
I was so blessed in the latter part of last year in the three months I was given for a sabbatical, a time to recharge my batteries, spiritual, physical and emotional! I had proper full nights of sleep, regular meal times and quality time with my usually neglected family. In my exploration of healing ministry I was inspired, encouraged and challenged by the people I met whose lives were soaked in faith and trust in God. I witnessed God at work in people’s lives when we are prepared to let go of our own agendas, pride and prejudices and become channels of God’s Holy Spirit.
I hope to share something of my experiences and what I learnt during my sabbatical at a Churches Together Gathering meeting to be held in St Godwald’s Church 7.30pm on 11th January. I hope you can come!
One of the things I discovered was that God gives generously to those who are generous. The centres of healing that I visited were all built, and continue to be maintained, through the generosity of those with a vision for God’s work. The funds for houses for healing came in as those with the vision themselves gave to others - thousands of pounds raised without a summer fete/Christmas bazaar/jumble sale model of fund raising. Funds raised without constant anxiety about how the bills would be paid but with a solid trust in God.
God provided all that was needed and, in the experience of those involved, God continues to provide for God’s work. If the funds are not forthcoming, the question has to be asked, is this project really in God’s plan for us? I am increasingly convinced that God wants to provide for the work of the Kingdom and he doesn’t want us stressing over it. He asks us to trust in His provision.
So I wonder what this year will have in store for us at St Godwald’s.
As I look forward, my hope and prayer for the church is that this year will be a year that sees us become a more trusting and generous people as we respond to the amazing generosity of God to us; that we would increasingly open our hearts and bank accounts to share from our resources of money, time and talents, with others near and far. And that we would see all our needs met in God.
God started the giving and when we respond, I truly believe that God will give again to us, in abundance.
And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
Minnie Louise Haskins
This will be a great stepping out in faith for many of us. It will feel scary, but we have nothing to fear if we trust ourselves into God’s hands.