The Parish of Burchetts Green

This month Rev Keith looks at

Faith in difficult times


People sometimes wonder if God can really be concerned with the details of their every day lives. For some this is a problem: to imagine that God could possibly be aware of everybody's circumstances and concerns. They simply can't conceive of a God who is involved in history and events. God, if indeed there is a God, is remote and far off.

For others the problem emanates from their experience. They pray and nothing seems to happen; their circumstances do not change in the way in which they want, or feel they should, and they conclude that either God is not interested or God is not capable, or some combination thereof.

How St Paul coped

In his second letter to the Corinthian church, St Paul catalogues all the disasters and difficult circumstances he has been through and yet 'we were always rejoicing,' he says. Later on in the same letter he writes: 'Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.' And in Philippians he writes: T have learned to be content with whatever 1 have. I know what it is to have little and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all

circumstances 1 have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.'

Trusting now matter what

Faith is not a comfort blanket, nor is God a divine vending machine. God wants us to learn to trust him whatever our circumstances may be, that he can bring good out of bad, success out of failure and joy out of grief. If God is indeed love, then we can be sure that he has our best interests at heart, whatever it might look like to us.

Over the centuries, Christians have found that rejoicing in life, even in hard times, enables the power of God to work in our lives and into our circumstances.

In the famous 23rd Psalm, David writes: 'Even though I walk through the darkest alley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff—they comfort me...Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.' May David's confidence in God be ours too.

May I wish you a very joyful holiday season,