Rector's Letter

Trusting God and not knowing

Production schedules! Like time and tide, they wait for no-one. I need to write my letter this month just a few days too early to say anything about the appeal in St Leonard’s parish for funding the exciting developments in the church building that are aimed at equipping it for the needs of the community in the coming generations, and also just a few days too early to say anything about the PCC’s strategy for next year in St James’ parish, which will include the appointment of the right person as our Children’s and Families’ Worker to succeed Katie who is now training full-time for ordination.

Isn’t it always more comfortable when you know what’s going to happen? We like to be in control. I recall, when I was in business, how much time and effort we would put in to developing strategies and making plans and forecasts, and then, later on, to working out explanations of why what happened was different from what we’d forecast! Of course, it’s right and necessary to have at least a set of sensible planning assumptions for the future, because you have to have some framework within which to make the decisions that need to be made today.

But the fact is that we never know what the future holds. So what are we to do? The voice of wisdom says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5) “Hmm,” I hear someone saying, “Sounds a bit airy-fairy to me. That doesn’t provide any sort of rational basis for decision-making.” Well, I must respectfully disagree. Sometimes prudence calls for a humble recognition that we don’t know the future but that God does, and that what He asks of us is to to trust Him, and that what trusting Him amounts to is to decide to do what in all prayerful conscience you believe to be the right thing, and (not knowing the future) to take the risk as to the outcome.

So here I am, just too early in relation both to the St Leonard’s developments and to progress with the Children’s and Families’ Worker recruitment in St James’. All I can say is that both churches have gone ahead in faith, relying on the Lord rather in their own predictions of the future, and trusting Him to make their paths straight. And for that faith expressed in both parishes, then whatever the outcomes, I thank God.

Rob Thomas

© 2018 Trowbridge St James'