Get a grip

4 October 2017

Get a grip

I’ve been reading Mark’s Gospel in preparation for a talk at the New Wine Urban Forum in the North next week. I love the concrete, simple…

Posted in the blog by New Wine

I’ve been reading Mark’s Gospel in preparation for a talk at the New Wine Urban Forum in the North next week. I love the concrete, simple way Mark writes. Straight to the point; blunt.

In the boat after Jesus has calmed the storm Jesus says “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:40). In other words: “Get a grip, disciples…after all you have seen!”

Until I was 18 I had never moved to a new house. I’m now 35 and in the intervening years I have moved 12 times. When we moved again five weeks ago we didn’t have a school place for our son. We were granted an appeal hearing to try to get him into his sister’s school.

The night before the appeal, I was unpacking and found an old cereal packet. On the back of the cardboard box is written a scripture and prophecy from a lovely family we met on a campsite in Cornwall three years ago. It starts with Isaiah 54:13: “All your sons will be taught by the Lord, and great will be your children’s peace.” What a great promise! I was brimming with confidence for the next day.

Two days later a letter arrived. Our appeal was refused.

Now, did I at that point remember God’s promises for my children? Did I faithfully wait for him to show us what to do? Did I remember his faithfulness to my family: how he has sustained us through repeated pregnancy loss, how he has gone beyond what we could have asked or imagined with our new home and church, how he has never, never let us down or let us go?

No. I cried, got mad, prayed, panicked, and then tried to solve the problem myself. My husband, on the other hand, was irritatingly calm about the whole situation — which did indeed resolve two weeks later with my son suddenly getting a place at the school opposite our house.

If instead I had got on with reading Mark’s Gospel earlier I may have heard Jesus say to me “Why are you so afraid, do you still have no faith?” Fair point Jesus. Get a grip and get on with it.

Abi Thomas is speaking at the New Wine Urban Forum in the North. She and her husband Tim have lived and served in urban priority areas for the last 10 years. They have recently moved to Bradford. As well as raising three hilarious children (6, 4 and 2) Abi also loves making radio programmes, media policy work and media training.

New Wine Urban Forums An opportunity to spend time with others who understand both the joy and pain of leading an urban church, and to be inspired to push on further and deeper with God’s plans. Whether you’ve just moved into an urban ministry or have been working there for years, join us as we encourage, challenge and release one another to serve God in the cities he has called us to.

In the North: 11–12 October 2017, The Gathering Place, Halifax. Find out more and book your tickets here.

In the South West: 29 November 2017, Woodlands Church, Bristol Find out more and book your tickets here.

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