The work of God has often taken place at the brink of extinction. Time after time, when faced with closed doors – when all seemed lost – the hand of God would fashion a new and mighty work. When Abraham and Sarah were old and barren – though declared to be those whose descendants would outnumber the grains of sand – God gave them a child; when Joseph lay abandoned and forgotten in a prison cell far away from home, God remembered him and began a new work of grace in Egypt; when Israel faced defeat at the hands of Goliath, God’s chosen one stepped into the breach and began the mightiest era in Israelite history; when the disciples were bereft and scattered and Jesus’ body lay in a tomb, God was about to begin the powerful new era of His Spirit’s work through the church. Time after time, when the people of faith have looked into the abyss, God has created a new future, a new hope.
Much of our present culture is tinged with a strong odour of fatalism. We look at the growing and often bloody conflicts taking place around the world and are invited to despair. While many African nations are creating refugees, we find reasons to turn our back on them. While Iraq seems to sink deeper into the quagmire, and now Burma suffers with it under the weight of injustice, the temptation is to close the door, garrison the fortresses and block it out… we see no hope, and instinctively seek to preserve what we have. When the environment seems on the verge of cataclysmic change, we seem incapable of generating a response.
as the church we come to the end of an era: 45 years of reliance upon income
from a service station to fund ministry is at an end. We have known no
other way of being, and therefore are tempted to wonder what the future
Words from the prophet Isaiah resound at such a time as this: See, the Lord's hand is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear (Isa 59:1). God has been the creator since the foundation of the earth; the redeemer from that time. To Hosea he spoke of making the valley of trouble into a doorway of hope (Hos 2:15).
A new future is breaking in upon us. Let us tune our ears to hear the call of God into that future, and commit our hands to do whatever he asks us to do to bring it into being.
And to God alone be the glory!
October 7, 2007