Posted in Letter
This week I’ve been thinking about anxiety and fear.
The pandemic has led to more people suffering from anxiety than before. A virus we can’t see, loved ones we can’t meet up with face to face, who themselves may be facing very real difficulties. There is much to be anxious and fearful about. Maybe we are hanging on to the Government advice and guidance as the roadmap for living our lives and making decisions about what we should and shouldn’t do.
It is all very well saying ‘don’t worry’ but another thing to take control of those destructive thought processes. The more we think about a thing the bigger it gets until our worry and fear dwarf God.
Is that possible? Can anything dwarf God? Well not in reality. But in our minds yes.
Are we spending more time listening to the news briefings and wondering if the latest advice makes it safe for us to venture further out than before? Are we worrying about a family member who is sick right now? These are legitimate concerns but the Bible gives us healthy ways to deal with our worries. We are not to bear them alone. But come to the Father in prayer. Share them with brothers and sisters in the fellowship that they may pray with us. Are we phoning friends to give them words of encouragement?
Are we making time each day for prayer, Bible reading and praise to our heavenly Father?
The Bible tells us not to be afraid 365 times. This is not about putting our heads in the sand and ignoring risk. In Matthew 6:27 Jesus asks ‘Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?’
At the moment I am reading through the book of John and today was the passage where Jesus walks on the Sea of Galilee. The equivalent passage in Matthew has the detail of Peter getting out of the boat:
‘Lord, if it’s you,’ Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to you on the water.’
‘Come,’ he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came towards Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?’
Peter showed great courage and faith in stepping out of the boat, but as his focus shifted from Jesus to the wind his fear took over and he began to sink. Is there a step of faith you would like to make but are fearful to take? Ask the Lord to help you and guide you in the journey.
Graham and I felt that it was important to open the Emmaus building up for private prayer. We sensed that the Government had no right under God’s law to keep church buildings closed and it was with a sense of ‘rightness’ that we opened the doors for the first time here on Monday and our aim is to continue to open 3 times a week: Mondays and Wednesdays 2-4 and Sunday 10-12. If you are able to join us we would love to see you but only you can judge if that is the step that the Lord is calling you to.
The current situation means that this is for private prayer only, not a corporate time of worship. The layout is different, with social distancing, hand sanitizers and prayer stations rather than rows of seats. The toilets are closed (but the Pentagon’s are open) and we are unable to offer refreshments. So why do we think it is important to be here? This is a sacred space, set apart for Christian prayer and worship. The Lord told Joshua he would give him the land where he placed his feet. Chatham is the land he has given to the Emmaus Christian Centre and it is important that there remains a Christian presence in the town. Graham and I come here to worship God, pray and bless Chatham.
If you are unable to join us physically at these times please consider joining us in prayer: for our church family; local families; those working in the service industries; wholesome businesses and shops. If the Lord shows you anything you feel is right to share please do get in touch.
After Pentecost the followers of Jesus faced many dangers and did not let that stop them doing what he had called them to do. Are we ready to step out of the boat to take up our cross and follow him? (or any other mixed metaphor you choose to pick)
Graham and Katy Hill, Local Church Leaders