A Word from one of our Ministers...
As I sit here on a Saturday afternoon in January, it is dark outside and it has been raining for days. I used to experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and believe me, it did make me sad… This weather can be depressing, and it means that we are more likely to be confined to home, with fewer opportunities to get out and about. It was dry yesterday and I was pleased to be able to have a walk around Dorking with David: just to be able to have a walk without getting wet was a joy.
This weather makes the time of year dismal for so many of us, without even considering what else might be going on in our lives. We sometimes say that these are “testing times” and as we approach Lent at the end of February, our thoughts do turn to Jesus’ time of testing or temptations in the wilderness that we remember during Lent. You may be going through something rough just now – I know of many families in which there is someone ill, for example – but there are myriad ways in which we might all be going through something. Whatever it is, can we follow Jesus’ example to us?
The Message translation of Matthew 4 says that Jesus prepared for the Test by fasting. We can’t always be prepared for specific times of testing because sometimes they just happen, but maybe we can prepare ourselves to be ready in life for times that challenge us. Can we live lives that centre on God in order that we are able to cope with these difficult seasons? Jesus countered the second temptation by saying that every word that comes from God is vital to our lives – that sounds like an invitation to listen for God’s voice in the scriptures, in prayer and in others. The Devil is told not to test God by Jesus – let’s instead put our Trust in God. Finally, Jesus answers the last challenge with a call to worship and serve God.
You will remember that I sometimes quote Ann Voskamp in my services, and so I leave you with a quotation from her website which I love, and have framed on my study wall so that I look at it often:
In the silent times, seek God.
In the painful times, praise God.
In the terrible times, trust God.
At all times, thank God.
If you feel that you are being tested just now, may God give you strength to persevere, and may you recognise God’s presence at your side through it all. I would value your prayers for courage, wisdom and peace, as I undergo testing of my own in the next few months: I am attending some interviews with the Diaconal Order and the District Probationers’ Committee for the church to discern with me whether the time is right for me to be ordained and received into Full Connexion in the summer, and whether I am called to full membership of the Methodist Diaconal Order as part of that. May God’s will be done in our lives, and may we glorify God in all that we do.