By Sean Bland
This has been a hard week for many of the fellows. There is no getting around that fact. We are richly blessed beyond measure, and have been given more than we are often grateful for, and certainly more than we deserve. Caroline’s post from the previous week was an extraordinary reminder of this fact. But this does not mean that we are going through this program, or will go through life, without difficulties. From large question marks about future jobs or where we are going to live, to tiredness and burnout, and even some things which cannot quite be mentioned here, as a group we have had much to pray for and much to lean on one another about.
I am reminded in all of this the prayer of King Jehoshaphat in the second book of Chronicles, where, in the midst of the assembly of Judah and in the face of an enormous hostile army, he says “O our God … we do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” Amazingly, in this case, God answered directly - speaking through another man present at the assembly, Jahaziel, the response is unambiguous: “Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s … stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf.” Indeed, we must not fear either, for our disappointments, doubts, and difficulties, are nothing in the face of God’s might and power.
Indeed, God is not merely working against our difficulties, but using them to shape History, or his story. For our “Identity and Relationships class,” we are reading Dan Allender’s To Be Told. In this amazing book he notes that “reading your life is like reading any story: it takes patience and hope to keep turning one page after another … He was writing your past, and he what he wrote holds great meaning for your present and future.” Importantly, neither our own failures nor the ‘random,’ crazy events of this world that occur to us outside of our control deviate God’s plans for our lives. Somehow, mysteriously, even man’s unordained sin and total depravity cannot alter God’s ordained destiny for his creation.
And that’s something to be joyous and hopeful about.
Pictures from the Week