Faith and Flexibility
Shirley Bell contacted me and asked if I would share the following extract from a recent email that the Jonas Centre sent out. She hopes it will speak to many, as it is very poignant for the times in which we find ourselves:
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Isaiah 54:2 “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.”
The origins of The Jonas Centre were built on the work of two couples who led children’s camps in Climping, West Sussex.
Each summer we would sleep in old army bell-tents and it was at this camp that I came to faith myself. I’m indebted to a local friend who recently shared these words via social media.
When the tent was hit by a storm the instructions in Isaiah made complete sense. We are definitely in a storm at present and the familiar is being shaken and these words come again to mind.
If we don't slacken the guy ropes off around our tent (lengthen your cords) it is in danger of being ripped and damaged by the weight of the storm. We need to remain flexible so that we can adapt to the inevitable changes the current threat brings. Maybe we need to restrict the amount of news we listen to/read - it is good to be kept well informed but media overload will make us taut and anxious. It is important to keep our lines of communication open with family, friends and neighbours - self-isolation and social distancing may be necessary physically but the connecting lines with others need to be extended - not shortened or snapped.
This might mean a period of re-connecting by messaging phone or even by email or letter - if your previously busy life has meant you haven’t reached out for a while.
This is true whether we are the 'helper' or the one who needs 'help'
Secondly if the tent pegs aren't hammered in well to maximum depth (strengthen your stakes) then the whole tent is insecure at best and at worst blows away! We need to listen most to those who build us up and encourage our spirit. Of course we need to make sure we take all the practical steps we can to stay fit and healthy, but we also need to not be afraid to ask for help and strength from others when we feel weak. For me as a Christian this starts with grounding myself in Jesus, in prayer and the Bible and though I realise that not all of you do this - it might be a good time to give it some serious thought!