When Jenny Rowbory talks about suffering, I listen. Jenny has walked with God many years through unbearable pain, and I deeply respect her theology. So I’m absolutely overjoyed to have her permission to share with you her words on suffering and the vulnerability of God, which I’ve arranged in an interview style – please read, absorb and share widely.
Tag Archives | character of God
As King Canute learned, you cannot withstand the power of the sea. Neither can you stop the will of God.
Before Sunday comes, in the mystery of suffering, in faith, we call it Good Friday, when it still looks like Bad Friday. In this upside-down kingdom of God, we say that the poor and weak are blessed above others, and even this needless, horrifying suffering has worth in itself, it carries hope.
If suffering has stolen your joy and you can no longer stretch to resurrection and Sunday blessings, I dare to prophesy to you: it is still a Good Friday, and God is there with you.
The origin of the word ‘provide’ gives us a different perspective on the word – before-seeing, or foresight. The God who provides is the God who sees ahead. We couldn’t anticipate our circumstances, nor what we would need. Alongside our scrabbling around to get the help we needed, we also found unexpected supplies to help us on the way.
When I was eight, I was chosen to do a reading at the school’s Advent service. It felt like a very important role, and I practised it for days to get the words right. I got to sit in the choir stalls, which was an important place. I wasn’t, however,
I wasn’t, however, chosen for the choir. My voice was judged inferior* – at least that’s what I remember feeling, even if that wasn’t the full reason. Whenever the choir sang, they all stood up; I remained seated in the stalls. Gradually, I realised – I was the only one sitting down when the choir stood up. All the other readers were also singers.
The first 3-4 minute segment was for Rick Easter’s The Worship Hour show, on ‘Why Pray?’ This week, Premier Christian Radio invited me to give three short broadcasts on the topic of prayer, as they marked, with prayer, the transition from Easter to Pentecost.
To be drawn towards a people group or country doesn’t mean you swoop in to fix their problems, or try and make them assimilate to your culture, but to listen and adapt yourself to their culture. It is to open your eyes to the weaknesses and arrogance of your own culture, and to change not the people but yourself. True mission is not so much about giving as learning to receive; not so much about speaking as listening.
The best way I know to combat racism is to start where I can – by listening to the stories and wisdom of people who’ve experienced racism and xenophobia.