What I have learned in the last 6 weeks.

Do you ever sit back and wonder what just happened ? 

Sometimes I do... these past 6 weeks have been a bit of a blur for me as an Officer in The Salvation Army, and in this blog I am going to attempt to share my feelings and thoughts about the events of the past few weeks.

Over my 20 years of Officer ministry, it feels a little like each year has given me challenges that have characterized the year... I am not going to list them out here, but suffice to say, I have been through some pretty hairy stuff in the past 20 years.

I have been through various significant events that have affected me and changed me and I will never be the same again as result of those specific events in those years.

This year it was a young girl from UK and her most amazing family.

I received an email message from an Officer friend in UK, asking me to go and visit her and her boyfriend at the hospital.  She had been in an horrific accident and was in ICU and needed support. 

As did her boyfriend.  And her family.

I reckon I did what any Army Officer would have done.  I prayed and supported and got myself involved in this event which changed my life.

I don't want to go into too much detail here for the privacy of those involved, but just to say this event changed me, challenged me and in some ways, and made me question my faith.

One of my huge challenges was the agony of seemingly unanswered prayers, vs the fact that you dont get what you ask of God at times. 

Now don't get me wrong, I believe that God answers prayer every single time, but you would be foolish to think you are going to get things your way every single time you ask it.

I know full well, that Gods ways are different and higher to our ways.  But that doesn't make it any easier when you are praying for a miracle and a miracle the way you hope, simply doesn't come.

The conflict inside your being when you grapple with disease, sickness, injury and pain... and all the good people telling you what you should do and how you should pray, is quite difficult.

But I really truly believe that there is no simple ritual, or phrase to say, that is going to twist Gods arm your way. It comes down to the fact that you pray, and others pray, - and that is our part in the process. The rest is up to sovereign God.

If it wasn't, then God wouldn't be sovereign at all, would He ?

I must say, never before in my Christian ministry have I ever seen the swell of prayers across the world occur like it did in this case. 

Perhaps God was teaching us all something about our desperation in prayer, in just this single event of 3000 plus people praying for a single cause, all united across the entire Army World and even beyond it, I was gob smacked by what was happening .

Never have I been a part of something as large as the thousands joining in and standing in unity with such a tragic situation all asking God for a miracle.

And yet our miracle didn't come the way we asked. 

And still, I cant help but feel that a miracle did occur anyway.   
Maybe one we simply cant comprehend just yet.

Friends I am certain, that there are no secret formulas, no special rituals, no real "thing" we can do... but pray. 

Why is that so hard for us ?  Praying that is.... ?

Perhaps its because when we do pray, things don't always go the way we want.  
So we tend to lose confidence in praying, we lose faith, we lose hope, we lose sight of God.

For me its been tough going, but not as tough as for this precious brave family who I have grown to love and respect, and will feel very very sad when they return home.  

For I think we are united together now, with some kind of love bond that exists between us.

We were strangers 2 months ago, but now.... connected in some strange and yet supernatural way that surpasses human understanding.  Perhaps that's one of those miracles.

And so here is something of what I have learned about myself during this tragic time.

I am called by God to be His servant. No matter what .
I am called and positioned by God for His glory, not my own.
I am not always going to be pleased with the outcomes.
I am called to pray and to stand and to love and to care and support others.
I am called to "be".... but I am also a threat and therefore under attack most of the time.
Sometimes I fall short of my calling to "be".
My words mean something, sometimes to some people. Not all the time, but sometimes.

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In a world that sometimes makes you  feel like you are a nobody,  God sees us as a somebody.

I think there are people who seek to find their way in the world by trampling over others to get where they think they need/want to go, not worrying at all about how they treat others in that process. Overlooking and ignoring, even rejecting some, so that their own selfish agenda is achieved.

It doesn't feel very good to feel like a nobody. It is a hurtful place to be at times, yet in the middle of the mess, the gentle still voice of God whispers to us each...

" I don't view you that way "..... " I know your pain, I know what you feel, I know your mistakes, your  feeling of inadequacy, rejection and loneliness and I care about you more than you will ever know,and more than anyone else will ever know "

God calls His people to rest in Him, even if we don't fully get it about what is happening around us, to us, within us, and through us.

Am I a nobody ? maybe ! 

But in Gods eyes I am a somebody ! and I know He loves me

and so are you. He loves you also. No matter what.

here are some simple bible truths to remind us....

 " Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity ". ( 1 Timothy 4:12)


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Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope(rest) in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

(Isaiah 40)

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                “ Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest " 
                                                                                                                  (Matthew 11: 28)



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Comments

  1. Ex officer, no one makes contact with me since I left, no phone calls or letters. I was a member for sixty years. But one thing I know is that my God is older than The Salvation Army and greater, and still loves me every day, He dose not look down on me, but only picks me every day.

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  2. Dear Ex officer: I am sorry that this is the reality for you. Humans will often let us down, God never does. It sounds trite to even say that, or to try and defend TSA. I don't know who you are, and it's possible I also may have let you down. We have a tendency to do that to each other, all of us. So I can sorry for that.. And truthfully I am. I think that we don't make contact sometimes because we don't know what to say or do. And even that sounds weak doesn't it ? But I think it might be true. Can I say this though... TSA is loaded with good people, and also some not so good people who seem to have the wrong agenda. I know every church and organisation would be the same. It is important to stay close to Jesus, to keep your eyes and ears on Him and to try and remember it's all about Him, and not TSA. TSA is a resource for heavens use, but when we think it is more important than heaven, well we have just lost our way. So friend, try to forgive those who have let you down... And seemingly forgotten you... And please forgive me if I am one of them. I pray you will find your way to a church somewhere and allow your heart and mind to be renewed and revived ..even today. By HIM.

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