Well, another year is over, which means I have done two of my three years of study. It has been an eventful year to say the least. This time last year I was thinking maybe that God was telling us to try for a baby – something that I’d almost given up on. A year later and the birth and loss of our daughter has become my most precious and most painful memory.
I write these articles to keep you up to date with my training but in truth I believe that these kinds of events are part of ministerial training. I am certainly not the only one on my course who has had to face a significant loss, and it seems that everyone goes through something. Of course these events are not part of the formal training program – they are certainly not arranged by Spurgeon’s college. But then it is God who’s in charge of the real training
C.S. Lewis wrote:
‘Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.’
If this is the case for the ordinary Christian how much more for those training for those training for ministry?!
So this year it’s almost been like the actual course has been running in the background while the biggest part of my training has been in my personal life. I have learnt too much through this to write it all here but some of the main things I have learnt are
- That I don’t have to be afraid even when life is hard because God is in control and he is there by my side
- Empathy with those who are pregnant and those who are bereaved
- That the existence of a loved one, however short, is worth all the pain in the world – I can understand why Jesus would willingly go through crucifixion for his beloved creation.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have supported us through this year. You’ve been amazing.
On top of these things I have been continuing to develop in my preaching and leading. It was nice to be visited recently by a few Perry Risers who decided to come and hear me preach at South Norwood Baptist Church. I’m still learning my Greek and Hebrew. I’ve learnt more about the bible and more about church history. I’m coming to the realisation that this course is only ever going to scratch the surface of what is a very deep subject. But the more I learn the more awesome God becomes to me.
I’m just about to start the third year which includes a dissertation so I’ve started reading for that. I don’t exactly know where I’ll be at the end of next year except to know that God will still be holding me in his hand. Please pray for continued guidance, learning and provision over the following year. Pray that the Lord will show both myself and Andrew where he wants us to go next.
Love and Blessings