Dearly beloved congregation,
September has been quite a busy month, with all the groups and organisations starting again after the summer holidays. It is also really exciting to welcome our new locum, Rev Dr Jonanda Groenewald. She has taken on her new role with enthusiasm and commitment, which I appreciate. I am sure she is going to make a huge pastoral difference in the joint Parishes.
Weather-wise, September has not been too bad at all, though I am sure others will say it could have been better!
If there is one thing about Scotland that I really like, it is how everyone always discusses the weather. I like it because it gives me a wonderful opportunity to tell people about God who controls the weather.
I think in Biblical times it also provided biblical writers with opportunities to tell the people of Israel and their foreign neighbours about God’s Almighty power over all things including the weather.
It is when you read Job chapter 37:1-18 that you realise that humans have no control over God’s creation.
The book of Job is part of the wisdom literature in our Bibles. In many ways it is a protest against “progress theology” - a belief that when you do good and obey God you will prosper, as is found mostly in the book of Proverbs. The book of Ecclesiastes is also written along the same lines as Job, saying that bad things happen to all people, those who obey God and those who don’t. So all you need to do is to trust God and accept His will.
Then Job replied to the LORD: “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”
You will not find a more God-fearing man than Job in the whole Bible. He did everything according to the book when it came to his faith and trust in God. Even after he lost everything, his family and all material goods, he still held on to God. Even when his friends speculated over God, Job simply remained quiet. Job knew that his faith was being tested and he relied fully on God, not on the wisdom of his friends.
“Listen to this, Job; stop and consider God’s wonders. Do you know how God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash? Do you know how the clouds hang poised, those wonders of him who is perfect in knowledge?
At the end of the book, God answers Job “out of a storm” confirming that He is in control. Job replies saying that he acknowledges the Almighty power of God over all things. He has come to the conclusion that God knows better and that He can be trusted.
Maybe we also must trust God and use every opportunity we get to speak about God and proclaim to the world, as we do on “Back to Church Sunday”, that He is in control. And when we struggle through life and cannot understand why bad things happen to us, then we must hold the hand of God even tighter, just as Job did. Maybe then, we too must wait for God and just listen as He speaks to us in all sorts of ways, through people and events.
So whatever the weather man says, God is in control. Whatever the weather, God can be trusted at, and in, all times. He knows what we need and He will provide in His own time.
May we all be thankful for everything we receive from God! May we show it as we celebrate Harvest Thanksgiving on the 13th of October 2013.
All my best wishes,