Resting in the Father’s Arms

Sometimes the season of Advent and Christmas can be a very challenging and painful season. We see all the programmes on TV about Christmas cookery and carol services and families getting together and perhaps our reality is a very different one.

We feel acutely the losses we have experienced in our lives – perhaps some one we loved dearly has died. Maybe a relationship we invested a huge amount of ourselves in has fallen apart and we feel heartbroken. Maybe we have worries about our finances or our job security. Maybe someone we love is ill and we are preoccupied and worried.

Melanie Grimsley

This week’s blog is a guest blog from our speaker at last week’s mid week Advent service, Melanie Grimsley. Melanie spoke very powerfully in the service about her struggles with faith during very difficult times in her life. If you haven’t yet seen it you can catch the service on the St Finnian’s YouTube channel or hear my interview with Melanie on the latest Bitesize Chunks of Faith podcast (below). She outlines a very helpful approach to suffering in our struggles and encourages us to rest in the love of our Heavenly Father.

Healing Devotion 

As I sat on the plane to Berlin, I noticed the couple across from me. It was stuffy and the plane itself seemed to contain all the post-Christmas exhaustion that early January brings. The young woman next to me had not been well and walked up to the front of the plane to the bathroom. Her boyfriend had walked behind her holding a bag in case she would be sick. They returned shortly after, and she lay across his knee. He sat for the duration of the flight just stroking her hair.

There he was, not able to take her sickness from her, but he walked with her ready to catch her. She wasn’t healed but she was soothed, she was held, she was loved. That’s devotion, I thought.

And then, it struck me. This is what God does when we are not well.
So often we beg for healing as in a cure. If this young lady were to beg her boyfriend to make her better, she would exhaust herself and end up frustrated and let down. She might say, “But, you don’t love me, you won’t take this away.” He would say, “Pet, I can’t make everything go away, you have a bug, it runs its course.” She would eventually end up leaning against the cold window instead of on his knee, angry instead of sleeping and hurt instead comforted.

Sometimes, I think we miss the beauty of lying on God’s knee while he strokes our hair. We miss the fact that healing comes in many forms.
We pray illness away in a sort of hopeful desperation. We say, “God take this” instead of, “Father, help me through.” We say, “Make me well,” instead of “Make me whole.” We say, “Don’t let me go to hospital,” instead of “Come to hospital with me.”

I know God has the power to remove pain, but how would the world work, how would our lives work, if God fixed everything? And anyway, why should God heal my condition and not everyone else’s and where does that end?

Yes, the Bible talks about healing, but healing isn’t always the removing of ailment. Healing can be knowing a touch of God’s love so strong that it permeates into the shattered parts of our hearts. How close we can be to God in our moments of human brokenness.

Am I healed from my burns? Well, no I still have them.
Do I still have pain? I carry it daily.
But my God walks behind me in case I fall and, when it’s really bad, I can sleep on his knee, and it is there that I am healed. He restores my soul. I am glad he didn’t remove what drove me to his arms and I am humbled every time the creator of the stars strokes my hair as I fall asleep.

Mitch Mitchell

At this Thursdays service we look forward to welcoming Evangelist, Keith Mitchell, “Mitch”, to share why faith is important to him. Mitch has a passion for offering the whole of Ireland, North and South the opportunity to Crown Jesus as Lord of their lives. 

We look forward to welcoming him at 7.30pm and the service will be live streamed for those unable to join us and a recording made available later.

Much love to everyone,

Jono.

Listen to the latest episode of ‘Bitesize Chunks of Faith’