10 T4ML #3 Look back (and lean into God)

(10 Things For Ministers in Another Lockdown)

Figure by Madeline, gifted by Marjory, photographed by Lynne

Over the last couple of days, I’ve encouraged us to look back and draw on past strength, and to look back and draw on the values of your church. The former helps build personal well-being in these difficult days, and the latter helps orient and focus pastoral leaders, when the possibilities are many and the energy is lacking.

Today, we’re looking back again: but instead of looking back to ourselves or to our church, we’re looking back to God: to how we’ve known God to act in the past, and who we know God to be.

In the Bible reading plan I follow, I was reading Psalm 56 on Friday. While I’m not feeling trampled on by others at the moment, I did do a bit of tossing and turning the previous night as I struggled to sleep. So verse 8 was a comfort to read: “You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in a bottle.” There’s comfort as I look way back to these ancient songs: to others who have named God’s presence and activity. The idea of God knowing that I struggled to sleep was comforting. I wasn’t alone in the night. And the image of God capturing and storing my tears speaks to me of tenderness and care.

So, I look way back, and lean into God. Into the comfort of God, whose presence has been declared since the beginning. Into the comfort of God, whose presence I have known. Today’s image is of a FIMO piece (signed by “Madeline”, with the verse Isaiah 51:16 inscribed on the bottom). It was gifted to me by a lovely friend when I was in hospital years ago. As I look at it, I remember God’s presence with me then. And I trust in God’s presence with me today.   

May the same be true for you. Remember, God loves you. Lean into God.

How might you encourage others in your church to also remember God’s never-ending faithfulness? Perhaps with stories shared? Perhaps with songs offered and scriptures read? Perhaps with an invitation for them to recall a time that was difficult for them, yet when they knew or trusted God to be with them. God is the source of our life and our hope. We can lean into God.

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Lynne is Jack Somerville Senior Lecturer in Pastoral Theology at Otago University; Director and Researcher for AngelWings Ltd; and, most importantly, wife-of-Steve; mumma of Shannon and Kayli; and daughter, sister, friend, aunt (and other essential relational connections). She’s passionate about helping people discover and grow in relationship with God. Also coffee. And creativity. And sunrises. Beaches. All sorts of good things.

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