Pastors Note March

Do you have any favourite words?

I do … dessert is up there in my top 10! I saw a lovely sign at the Wednesday Coffee morning earlier that made me smile. It said something like, ‘The more you weigh, the harder you are to kidnap, so eat cake.’ Such pearls of wisdom from our friends at the Old School! Also appearing in my top 10 is ‘joy’ (joy is knowing God’s pleasure and nearness regardless of circumstances). Another is ‘grace’ … Amazing grace! Grace simply means ‘all of God you’ll ever need, for every situation you’ll ever face’. Vying for top spot is the word ‘hope’ for without hope I am not sure it is possible to live. I would suggest that the opposite of hope is despair. One woman described the hopelessness that accompanied her depression like this. “It feels like I am in a well 1,000 feet deep. From the bottom I look up and see a faint light the size of a pinhole. I have no ladder, no rope and no way out.”

Neil Anderson in his excellent book Overcoming Depression refers to Dr Victor Frankl’s observation that a prisoner did not live very long after hope was lost. Yet even the slightest ray of hope – the rumour of better food, a whisper about an escape helped some of the camp inmates to continue living even under systematic horror. Hope does that! As someone once said, ‘There is not enough darkness in all the world to put out the light of one small candle.’

The question I guess is how do we respond when our world is turned upside down? J K Gressett writes about Samuel S. Scull, who settled on a farm in the Arizona desert with his wife and children. One night a fierce desert storm struck with rain, hail, and high wind. At daybreak, feeling sick and fearing what he might find, Samuel went to survey their loss. The hail had beaten the garden and surrounding area into the ground; the house was partially unroofed, the henhouse had blown away and dead chickens were scattered about. Destruction and devastation were everywhere. While standing dazed, evaluating the mess and wondering about the future, he heard a stirring in the lumber pile that was the remains of the henhouse. A cockerel was climbing up through the debris and he didn’t stop climbing until he had mounted the highest board in the pile. The old cockerel was dripping wet, and most of his feathers were blown away. But as the sun came over the eastern horizon, he flapped his bony wings and proudly crowed. Gressett goes on to ask, ‘Why did this emaciated cockerel insist on rising above the debris to crow?’ Because it was his nature. His DNA was programmed to announce the beginning of a new day. True to his nature, he stuck out his bare chest and declared, “Wake up, world – a new day awaits!” I believe that is the response of hope… may it be ours also.

Whatever you are going through right now please do not give up or give in. I cannot promise you an easy route out of your difficulties but I can introduce you to a Saviour who is ‘familiar with suffering’ who understands your pain and assures you of His presence. If you would like to talk with someone, please don’t hesitate to contact Chris Burr at St Denys or ourselves.

All the very best

Dave Llewellyn

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