Sunday’s sermon set me on a path of introspection. Andrew took the opportunity to talk about the call placed on him to go and teach in another school. I’ve listened to Andrew in the past when he has questioned whether it is God who is speaking to him. So on the occasion of this position and challenge of the new school, Andrew placed three obstacles in the way of the decision. He described how every single one of them was removed and then he said ‘yes’ to the job. Seven months later, Ofsted has taken the school out of special measures. Andrew is now spreading the word that God blessed the school through His call.
This is, of course, a cause of great joy for all concerned. Why then, did my normally sunny, positive self struggle on hearing Andrew’s talk? As I listened to God that night, he told me that for all that triumphantly reflects his glory, he is present also in the harsh days of darkness and uncertainty.
This is a week when we need to take the long view and we have the perfect example in Christ’s final walk to the cross. In a few days we celebrate Palm Sunday. What glory, what excitement! The spontaneous act of praise as Jesus entered Jerusalem would have made anyone watching believe that it was ‘all systems go’ for Jesus to begin his earthly reign. But we know the end game. In less than a week, he would go from the people’s hero to criminal of the church, apparent blasphemer of God, under the penalty of death. Where were all the people now? Was there no-one left by his side but John? Even His Father left him. Can anyone imagine a lower place than this?
Faith is about the unseen as much as the seen. The signs that Andrew spoke about were visible signs. The fruit that he spoke about was visible fruit. We don’t always receive fruit immediately. We do not always see visible signs immediately. There is a longer view which we must respect as much as what appears to be short term gain or loss.
We can know which we are looking at by following the path of Christ. He stayed close to the Father during his final walk to glory. He prayed. He listened. He acted according to the call. He paid the final penalty for each one of us….and the world did not wait long for a longer view. Three days later, Christ broke the chains of death in the splendour of the ressurection.
Are you in the long or the short view right now? If God has called you to something, no act of man can stop you. Whether you are in a time of blessing or trial, stay close to God. Listen and pray for opportunities. When called to act, move. God will do the rest. Whichever time you’re in, the best is yet to come. As for me and my house, we’re standing on the promises of God.