Coming to faith a few years after marriage and through the Grace of God and constant prayers of a faithful woman, I spent 30 years in the same Anglican church in Bournemouth. It appears strange that God should move me from a county that has no canals at all and site me as a nomad on the waterways system. Not that I was entirely without boating skills. Being a youth worker provides many opportunities to be wet and frightened, but no experience that equipped me this way. Similarly, evangelist - not the usual career move for the church sound engineer.
However, our God is knowledgeable and trustworthy. He has given me the perfect partnership with my boat and the most amazing active retirement amongst a truly astounding fellowship of passionate, life filled, believers and others.
My faithful woman, Clare, spent her last 11 years challenging breast cancer in her own and others’ lives. Never her defining feature, she used that affliction to witness ceaselessly and with great craft and humour in the workplace, her social and church life and, when convalescing from surgery, through the internet. God was always helping her out and we learned to lean on Him and look to Him for sanity most of the time. He never let us down in all those painful days, or found absent in the ones of great joy. It was in that time that He suggested I should seek the lost and forgotten. If you feel that’s you, please get in touch.
I have left the bricks and mortar with our two twenty something sons. Perhaps a supportive thing to do, time alone will tell, in the hope that ‘God is doing a new thing’. In this case, the parents moving out of the family home!
And so, my wanderings are guided by Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future". Pointing with trust to Jesus, and then to prayer and petition.
And I love how faithful God has been to that promise. How fabulous to be travelling through the network with all it contains, and to join the community of boat dwellers. How brilliant to represent the Kingdom of God in my travels and to see burdens lightened. And what a privilege to have time for people in all their complexity.
A good friend recently said I was brave; on reflection all the most troubled people I have spent time with have fallen away from faith. Perhaps they are my ‘forgotten’ target, and so God’s Spirit is already there as the bond between us – not frightening, but wonderful! Why am I not surprised…
Now. Where did He put that lost target?