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Chaplain's Chat 6th June 2018

God's Holding Pattern

In the course of my work at school, students often ask me some very challenging questions! As I have said before, one of the most common is …. “Where is God when …..?” It is a question that is valid and understandable, but one for which I cannot give a specific answer. It would be great if I could utter some soothing words in answer to these questions but that would, in many cases, be dishonest of me and would not help the individual concerned much at all.

In my reading, I have come across reflections that talk about “God’s Holding Pattern”; situations and circumstances that are painful and ongoing and where there seems to be little hope. These are times in our spiritual journeys when we seem to be stuck in the situation, unable to move to the left or the right. All we can do is sit, much like Jonah sat in the belly of the great fish. Jonah had not really been listening to God, or at least did not like the answers he was getting. God needed to get Jonah’s full attention. This was done in the belly of that great fish, a place where there were no friends to call, no colleagues to drop by, no books to read, no food to eat, no interference's or interruptions of any kind. He had plenty of time to sit, think, meditate, and pray.

When we are deep in the midst of a difficult situation, often that is the time that God can talk to us. In our desperation, we may hear that still small voice of God, and He gets our undivided attention. In these situations, God can show us things about ourselves that we might not otherwise have seen. We cannot run away from God because there are no mountains that are high enough, valleys that are low enough, rivers that are wide enough, rooms that are dark enough, or places that are hidden enough, to be able to get away from Him.

In any situation where we could really do with God’s tangible presence, perhaps we need to stop struggling and start listening, praying and trusting. He may well keep us in that situation until we can clearly hear Him say, "I love you," and where we say to him, “I don’t know what is going on here, or where you are, ….. but I trust you!” Easily said ….. but oh, so hard to put into practice!

May God be with us in all the situations that we face in life.
May we feel His love and presence, and know that he is with us through thick and thin.

God bless!

Rev Dave

(The story of Jonah can be found in a book by the same name in the Old Testament.)