Mat’s July Letter

As I write this I’m recovering from a virus that has laid me low for over a week. Two things in particular have struck me during my illness. The first is that I take my health for granted. I live from week to week assuming that I’ll be healthy without giving thanks to God for it. So, I’m resolving to try and be more thankful for my health—when it eventually returns. It is so easy to forget to be thankful for the everyday blessings and pleasures of life and instead spend our prayer life complaining and asking for help.

The second is to do directly with prayer. What is the role of prayer in illness? We are instructed to pray for the healing of the sick. And I believe that God can heal and so I pray for that. I also know that Christians are not immune from illness and suffering. We are to witness to God in the world in all its darkness. Sometimes that means struggling with things and continuing to witness to Jesus in them.

Philippians 4:5-7Open Link in New Window says; ‘The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.’

Note it doesn’t say, ‘and God will grant your requests’, but you will know God’s peace which surpasses understanding. You can’t understand it, it makes no sense, but you can receive it. Paul knows that the only state that satisfies is one where we are at peace in God. For him it seems that prayer is not only about asking God for help, and indeed giving thanks, it is about being in God’s presence and knowing God, allowing the Holy Spirit to increase our love for and trust in Him. What else does ‘your will be done’ mean except I trust you, I place my life in your hands? I wonder what might that look like for you at this time.

Perhaps this month, as we pray, let’s remember to be thankful and let’s seek the peace of God which passes all understanding.

Mat

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