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A Quiet Word – April 2021

Recently I have been making lots of phone calls to inform various
companies and organisations that I am connected with as to my
new postal address at the manse. Making phone calls sometimes
just for something as simple as this can take a surprisingly long
time. First, we have to negotiate, listen and select one of the following numbered
options supplied. Next, we hope we have selected the correct one, so we are
transferred to the right department. Then we have all been there, spending what
seems to be like an age on the phone where you have to listen to loud and irritating
hold music or to an automated voice giving you a number of where you are in the
queue or you may even hear the familiar ingratiating words: ’Thank you for your
patience, your call is important to us and will be answered shortly.” This is not
helpful especially when all you really want to do is to speak to somebody in person
and get things sorted quickly.

It is true that we can actually end up waiting to be put through longer than it takes
for our question or query to be answered! I waited 20 minutes the other day to
have a question answered in less than sixty seconds. I guess waiting times are even
longer at the moment as offices are being run with a skeleton staff due to either
people having to work from home or because they have been furloughed It is easy
to forget when we get impatient or frustrated, that we are just one of hundreds of
people waiting to speak to an advisor and to get our query answered. Nick Lear
reminded us all recently about cultivating the fruits of the spirit that Paul writes
about in Galatians 5:22. He highlighted that patience is an important one we need
to think about both in our words and actions to those we love; and to those with
whom we live and work with. Indeed, it is also something to consider when speaking
to those telephonists we come into contact with when trying to get help for
ourselves and for others in our everyday lives. Patience in this ongoing season of
waiting is something we need to keep in mind and continue to try to exercise in
addition to the other fruits that go hand in hand with it – love, joy, peace, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

As I write this, exactly one year on from when the 1st lockdown came into force, I
give thanks to God for you all as the church family and fellowship at Whitehouse
Baptist Church for your patience and understanding as we negotiated the first,
second and third lockdowns together. Despite all that we have been through and
all the things we have had to stop or change the way in which we go about them,
one thing remains constant is God’s patient love for each of us.

Our loving Heavenly Father is patient with us even when we sometimes get impatient with him because
we feel our progress in our lives or in our faith journey is slow. Looking back at the
extra quiet word that I wrote in March 2020, when I highlighted the importance of
private prayer and how it can help us and indeed others we know who are in need,
I said: ‘in Matthew 6:6, Jesus offers us some good advice about prayer which is
especially relevant at the moment as most of us will be staying in and around home:
“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father.”’
The great thing about prayer – our conversations with God is we do not have to dial
a number; select the right option; listen to irritating hold music; be told that our call
is important or even have to notify Him of our change of address. Instead, we can
be reassured that we have instant and immediate and unlimited 24-7 access to him.
He knows where we are and comes to us, He carefully listens to our cares, our
worries and our frustrations we face and provides wisdom, refreshment, healing
and peace in our precious and sweet communion with him.

While we give thanks for answered prayers and healing, we continue to uphold those
in the church family in thought and in prayer who are finding life tough at the
moment. We especially remember those who are currently unwell; those with
ongoing family, job, relationship and health concerns, those young people, linked
to this church, who are feeling overwhelmed with schoolwork and worried about
the future; and those who are remembering and missing loved ones who have sadly
passed away. May they and you know the love and peace of God that surpasses all

Easter blessings and love,