Sunday, 19 June 2011

Secure in His hands

We had a wonderful Church service this morning. So much happened, I can't even recount it all. It was lots of little things that people said - the Spirit of God was moving.

The missionary Patrick Mulenga, shared with us a little of what the Lord has been doing in their church and then recounted the amazing story of how he was brought back from the brink of death that he might continue to serve the Lord. Glenn shared with us some small lessons from the lives of David and Solomon.

One of the most amazing things he pointed out is that when David ask if he could build a house - a temple - for the Lord, he was told by Nathan the prophet, "The Lord declares that he will make a house for you—a dynasty of kings! For when you die and are buried with your ancestors, I will raise up one of your descendants, your own offspring, and I will make his kingdom strong. He is the one who will build a house—a temple—for my name. And I will secure his royal throne forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son." (2 Sam 7:11-14a, NLT)

I always thought the prophesy was about Solomon, and it was, but it's also, more importantly, about Jesus, David's descendant who would "build the temple" three days after it was destroyed. Wow!

But before we even got to this part of the service, there was something else that spoke to me on a personal level, and it was in two of the songs which had been selected for us to sing. I share them below and what they meant to me...

As I head off to Oxford in three months time, there is a lot for me to think and worry about. I am both excited and scared of everything that has to happen, and has to be done, and of what it will be like when I'm there. My fears are few, but real. The one is general paranoia that something will go wrong before I even get there. That an Icelandic volcano will erupt, cutting me off from Europe, or worse, leaving me stranded in some place like Dubai. I also fear how I will handle the cold and rain, after living in sunny sub-tropical climes my whole life.

Another of my fears is deeper, more spiritual. I've heard stories, enough to make this fear real - will my faith be enough to sustain me when I am off on my own, in an unknown place among unknown people? I've lived under the watchful eye of parents and church my entire life. Now I enter, the "big bad world", alone with temptations aplenty and those to hold me accountable few. I like to think that it will, that I am strong enough. I survived teenagehood and a secular university unscathed. I have not yet fallen down the path of rebellion which many Christians wander along at some point in their lives, if even for a little while. And so this continual fear hangs over my head every time I'm presented with a new challenge in my life. Will this be the time that I fall?

Only time will show my faith for what it really is, but I ask all my friends to uphold me in prayer. It seems almost a selfish request, that I should be spared when others aren't. Yet surely there is not harm in it: May I be spared once again.

As we sang this chorus this morning, I found the hope and strength I needed to allay these fears for a time, real though they may be:

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
If I rest on the far side of the sea,
Even there, your arms will keep me warm,
Even there, your loving hand is sure to guide me.

The wings of a plane; an island, not only on the far side of the sea, but of the world; a place that will be far colder than anything I am used to. The words could not be more appropriate, had someone written the song especially for me. And what makes them extra special, is that the first two lines come straight from scripture (Psalm 139).I think this ought to become my key refrain, the words I say as I wake and sleep.
From your Spirit where can I go,
From your presence where can I flee,
You are there in the oceans far below,
I go up to the heavens,
You are there beside me.

You have searched and you see,
All of me, all of me,
I will give willingly,
All of me, all of me.

Oh, may those last two lines be true. Not only for the next two years, but for the rest of my life.

The next song we sang was equally appropriate:

I'm so secure,
You're here with me,
You stay the same,
Your love remains,
Here in my heart

So close, I believe
You're holding me now
In your hands I belong,
You'll never let me go.

May I feel and know the security I have in the Lord, and may I always stay safe 
in His hands.

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