God is sovereign. That absolute fact matters. Nothing that I face today will take God by surprise. Whereas life may, and frequently does, spring surprises on me all the time. Just when you thought things were settled and you knew what the future looked like along comes a surprise. That would be unsettling were it not for the sovereignty of God and the conviction that God is working all things for good.
The latest curve ball has come in the shape of issues with the building we meet in. Hiring a school inevitably means that we have to make compromises, compromise over what and when and how, compromise over what we can and can't do, when and how we meet and so on. We have been incredibly blessed with the generosity of the school and the incredible support of the headteacher, office and cleaning staff who have repeatedly gone out of their way to make us welcome.
But there have been growing pressures in terms of building use. The area we have for Sunday school is not ideal, especially with large number of children, and we can only use the facilities as and when they are available which largely rules out the day time. There is also a new and pressing issue, when a child is excluded from school they are excluded from the premises both during and outside of school hours. Last week sadly this happened which means effectively we have family who are part of our wider church family who are excluded from church as one of their children is excluded from school. So suddenly the need to find new premises becomes more urgent. But what is reassuring is that God new even though I didn't that this issue would present itself last Thursday. God knows even though where don't where we will meet in the future.
And so this week alongside all the usual sermon preparation, visits, assemblies, bible studies, 1-2-1's, admin and making the church family aware of this issue I'm spending time looking for a new home for Grace Church. There are no obvious venues, the secondary school don't want to do Sunday lettings, there is no community hall in the area, not even a pub with a function room. But still God knows and is good. There are some available office units and commercial premises though they are a bit set apart from the residential community and they are expensive but available to buy or to let.
So whilst the future is once again somewhat uncertain our trust is that God knows and he is with us. Someone from church text me reminding me of our first memory verse of the year this morning: "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and be not dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." Again God's timing that one of the verses we have learnt is so relevant at this time.
So we'd value your prayers. Prayers for quickly finding venue. Prayers for wisdom as to whether to buy or rent and where to buy or rent. Prayers for finance whether we buy or rent as realistically our rent needs to be as cheap as it is at the minute and if we buy we need to find external sources of finance. And lastly prayers for unity within the church family over this issue as we move forward so that others watching on are won for the gospel.