Vicar’s July Letter

Dear friends,

Sian and I haven’t been too well over the last month. Nothing too serious hopefully, but we have been having lots of tests and lots of visits to nurses, doctors, dentists and opticians. I am well aware that lots of people in our churches and community are struggling with a variety of illnesses and medical concerns, some of which are extremely serious. I am also aware of people in our churches and community struggling with bereavement, loneliness, damaged or broken relationships, fear for the future because of worries about finance, work, housing, security. Life often seems difficult. How do we cope with such situations as Christians?

It is often easy to blame God and be angry with him. Not everyone will feel like this, but some will, and that is ok. God can cope with our pain and our anger! The Psalms are full of people struggling with difficult times and feelings and often being angry with God for allowing such things to have happened. Such Psalms can help us to see that others have suffered and struggled too. Such Psalms can give us permission to feel how we do; they are in the Bible after all! But it is interesting to see how most of these sort of Psalms finish. Psalms 42 and 43 (which seem to fit together as one poem or song) are the words of someone who is really, really struggling with something. We are not told what the issue is, but we sense something of the writer’s despair: ‘My soul thirsts for God’, ‘My tears have been my food’, ‘Men say to me all day long “Where is your God?”‘, ‘ Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?’, ‘ I say to God my Rock, “Why have you forgotten me?”‘, ‘My bones suffer mortal agony’, ‘Why have you rejected me?’. Clearly the words of someone who is struggling and feels God has not been there for them. But the following refrain is included in the middle of Psalm 42 and ends Psalm 42 and Psalm 43: ‘ Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God.’

Through all that the writer is suffering, there is a decision to continue to praise God and see him as the source of our hope. What a wonderful example and a powerful challenge to each of us.

When we are struggling, reading a few of the Psalms may help us to feel that others have struggled in similar ways (although not in the same ways), but we should always try to continue to praise God and look to him for hope in our situation. He is always there and will always listen and is always loving us and caring for us, even if it doesn’t always feel like it.

If you would like someone to pray with you or for you, or you would just like to talk, please get in touch.

God Bless,

Mike

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