Barclay Viewforth Church congregation on Blackford Hill

Perseverance

Pastoral Letter February 2018

perseverance

pəːsɪˈvɪər(ə)ns/

noun: perseverance
1 persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.

Dear Friends,

February has dawned – hopefully that means that spring is just around the corner…and we’ve managed to survive January! It’s almost as though we have to persevere through the post- Christmas blues of dwindling bank balances, tight waistlines and whatever the weather has to throw at us, not to mention the flu virus which seems to have been causing some problems for a number of people. Although things seem difficult at times our goal is to make it through to the end of every day, despite the difficulties which may come our way.

This is essentially the challenge of the Christian faith too, to persevere and persist in standing up for our loving God, despite times of trial and tribulation. There may be days when we can’t see God in the midst of our difficulties but we shouldn’t ever give up. Just because we can’t see God, He can see us and will be there to pick us up when we reach out to Him. In the epistle written by James we read:

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. James 1:2-3

I’m sure that many of us over the years will have faced many trials and, now that we’re through them, can look back and realise that faith has been the thing that has given us the strength to keep going, to persevere. At times we may not have welcomed the testing of our faith but ultimately, and I have to confess that it’s far easier to do this with hindsight, we can see that God uses these trials to help us to grow. As Christians we know that life is not going to be easy, but we also know that Christ will take these challenges to mould us and shape us into who He would have us be.

Stop for a moment. Think back.
Where have the trials been in your life?
Where was God in the midst of them? God was there, you may not have seen Him at the time but when we suffer, God suffers with us.

If you are in the midst of a trial at this time because of health issues, bereavement, job situation, etc. hold on, keep persevering. You are not alone, even though you might feel it at times. Jesus said; “And surely I am with you always…”. Focus on the light of His love for you as you face each challenge.

During February the theme for the month will be perseverance – we’ll be sharing stories of well- known people of faith who have faced trials and been tested in their faith, but we’re also hoping that a few of you may feel challenged to share your stories with us, either during the service in person, or as a recorded interview. Please let us know if you would be willing to do this. Some of you may even want to share a verse of scripture which has helped and inspired you at these times. If God has spoken to you during a trial, perhaps He is encouraging you to share it now so that others may be encouraged to persevere. We would love to hear from you.

In the meantime may God hold you in the palm of His hand. Love and blessings.
Elaine Hogan

PS Coincidentally, as I write this, my daily bible reading for today talks about how God uses suffering to transform you. (See Bible in one Year – BIOY)

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