This is God’s work

Thomas Merton

This prayer came across my desk this morning and I felt it quietly summed up what I have been wanting to say to people for a while.. It was written by Thomas Merton who was a Trappist Monk from Kentucky who died 2 years before I was born.

In this job I get the opportunity to meet some amazing people. Faithful people, people who long with their whole heart to do God’s will. They strive and they race, but Covid has brought us to a different place. Our striving and our racing can be futile. It can seem no matter what we do, we will not find success.

This idea is not a new one, the writer of Ecclesiastes told us about this:

A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

We have no idea where we are going, and we do not see the road ahead of us. Our current situation has put us all in a place where no person has been before and none of us really know what we are doing. Yet in all of this none of us can also fathom what God is going to do. The key is to faithfully try to do the will of God. Sometimes that means to go hard, to adapt to be creative, but sometimes it requires us to step back and take a look from the balcony for a while and see what is happening in the world and to the people around us. (If you want to know more about this idea why not talk to the Kaldors who are part of the New River Leadership team)

In many ministry conversations around family ministry, a lot of people are saying that families are hard to reach. What if it is time to take a step back and have a look at why. Make some time to meet with families individually for a meal, or take them out for a coffee, or meet in the park so the kids can have a play.

Guess what??? – all the rules have changed, there are no have to’s any more, which leaves space to enquire of God and what God is doing. I love the line in the prayer, “but I believe that my desire to please you, does in fact please you.” Just to go with a heart that desires to please God and follow in God’s ways is more than enough. It is a great exercise in trust that those unknown paths will actually lead where God is calling us to go..

I wonder where the path God is leading you is going? Enjoy the journey, God is up to some amazing things.

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