In January 2013 I sat in our church building and heard a sermon from Stephen Burgin from Luke 9, when Jesus sent out His disciples. God spoke to me through verse 2: ‘Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt.’ (Luke 9:2) I did not fully understand what God was saying at that point, but I knew He was calling me to set off on another journey with Him, one that would lead to me leaving the job He had provided for me at Hope House School, a job I loved, working among people I cared for deeply. At that point, Mark Burgin was the pastor here and I thought he would be here for ever. I had to take the scary step of talking to Garry about this call, of talking to my boss about no longer feeling I could stay at the school, and I was probably more shocked by their acceptance of these conversations than I was by God speaking! What made this even scarier at this point was I knew that I was being called to give up things, but I had absolutely no idea what I was being called to. So I identify very much with Abram setting off on a journey, knowing he had to leave all they had acquired and accumulated in Harran but not knowing where he was going or why. It is not a comfortable thing to have God speak to us. Though there is the promise of blessing here – great blessing, the promise that ‘all peoples on earth will be blessed through you’ (Gen 12:3) – there is also much uncertainty, doubt and questions when God speaks to us. We do not have all the answers to our questions; we do not have all the answers to other people’s questions! We simply know that God has spoken, and this speaking revolutionises our lives.
God speaking to people is a miracle in itself, but it is interesting that there is often a long period between this speaking and the fulfilment of His promise. Such was the case for David (anointed king of Israel as a young man but not crowned over the whole country until the age of 37) and for Abraham (whose journey of faith started, it seems, at 75 but who did not see a son born to him and Sarah until he was 100.) During this period between the promise and its fulfilment, it can be difficult to hold on to God. There were many days of doubt and frustration for me between handing in my notice at school and being appointed as one of the pastors here, and most days I had to go about my ‘ordinary’ life, doing mundane things. Yet what God promises, He also does, and so on 4th January 2014, Garry and I were inducted as pastors here. If you are in the season of the mundane and wonder when you will ever see the miracles happen again, you are called to serve God, to worship Him, to keep on running the race and not give up in that difficult ‘in-between’ time, but keep holding on to God’s promises in faith. The mundane may make up the majority of our lives, but if we will do what God tells us to do, if we will listen to the voice of the Lord and obey it, then we too will see the miraculous in our everyday lives.