Pastoral Letter October/November 2017

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High

Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

— Psalm 91:1

Dear Friends,

With Harvest behind us and autumn beginning, thoughts turn towards other events, such as Reformation Day, Bonfire Night, and Remembrance. The grand and glorious comforts of the Psalms have notable connections with all these events. The Psalm which begins with the verse above was a particular favourite of a man I knew who gave his entire life to missionary work in South Africa and Zimbabwe. He served during World War Two, flying in the RAF and facing terrible danger, yet all the time convinced that God would keep him for the purpose of reaching the lost, which indeed He did.

He believed that the Lord made these words a special promise to him, and took especially to heart the seventh verse of the Psalm: ‘A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you.’

He was absolutely certain of the sovereignty of God. Surely many took comfort from these verses, and still died — many Christian believers laid down their lives in both world wars. Yet the comfort that this man knew, sortie by sortie, battle after battle, was not made more real by the fact that he remained alive upon each return, or even that he survived the war. His confidence was in the unchanging nature of God, and he dwelt ‘in the secret place’. He maintained his walk with the Lord in prayer and the word in complete dependence upon the Holy Spirit. He lived ‘under the shadow’ of Almighty God and sought refuge ‘under His wings’ (v4)

Such is the privilege of every child of God, from Apostles and Early Fathers, to giants of the Reformation like Luther and Calvin, through all passages of time, unto us in the present day. We may have the same unshakeable confidence in our Sovereign God who has sent His only Son that we might have everlasting life. But we need to ‘dwell in the secret place’ just as those who have walked the pilgrim path before us. This is the ‘everyday’ reality of the ‘extraordinary’ Christian life!

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