The NTV and I have just returned from a Pastoral Refreshment Conference. It did what it said on the tin – we have indeed been refreshed. We were refreshed by the fellowship of the saints, and by having time and opportunity to feast on the love of God for us in Jesus as the word of God was faithfully opened up to us, and as the Holy Spirit warmed our hearts to its truths.
It was also quite a sobering experience. As we chatted with a wise and experienced pastor about the struggles we are facing we were forced to look at the possibility that our story here might not have a fairy tale ending. To face the possibility that at some point, given certain factors, flagged up by various indicators, it may quickly and irretrievably become the part of the story that your children ask you to skip over as you read it to them. We were asked to consider carefully whether it is really wise to go deeper down the track of this forest, as it seems to get darker and darker rather than pursue another quest altogether. Because of course this is a real battle, against a real enemy which can result in some very real casualties. If this skirmish is doomed for us, would it not be most gallant to retreat and live to fight on a different front? Is it time to jump into another story and pursue our adventure there?
The answer to these promptings? Well it would be arrogant to presume that there wasn’t at least a need to regroup.
Lord please help us, please grant us courage and humility and love and faith. Help us to be quick to spot the warning indicators in our lives and our walks with you. Help us not to ignore them in foolishness, laziness or arrogance. We do not want to stay out of stubbornness, and pride. Lord, nothing is wasted in your economy. But nor do we want to leave hastily. The farmer has to wait while under the earth you bring life. Lord if there are sprouting seeds that you would have us nurture, and we believe that there are, please overrule every detail of our lives to keep us here. If you walk with us, if our hands are in your hand we can keep going no matter how dark it gets. Grant us wisdom we pray Lord, Amen.