Monday, December 17, 2007

Merry Christmas

Thank you to everyone who encouraged me to continue with the online book club this year, and for your feedback.

I pray you all have a wonderful Christmas and New Year.

I look forward to seeing some of you comment next year.

lots of love


Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God - Chapter 5 - Helen Roseveare

I know I’ve missed the last two chapters that we read from ‘Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God’. Sorry to those of you who are reading along with us. Things have been quite busy the last few weeks and I even missed a book club my self.

I did however enjoy reading the chapters, and I hope you found them encouraging and challenging.

Chapter 5: Helen Roseveare – Faithful in Loss

I’d like to share with you a few of the things we discussed in our book club meeting.

Beginnings: Some of us where surprised that Helen found such Godly companions in university who lead her to a deeper relationship with the Lord. Page 143-145. Some including myself had understood university to be a godless place, but on discussing this point we found that those of us who had attended university did not find it to be a godless place and had themselves found Godly friends and teachers.

Peaks and Valleys: I could relate to her description of the peaks and valleys in her life, as it reminded me of my own view of spiritual life when I was still a Charismatic Pentecostal. Though the language was different. We said we ‘felt dry’ or in the ‘wilderness’.

“I found frequently that I climbed in glorious sunshine… my face set determinedly for the nearest peak I could see. As I reached it, I revelled in the sense of achievement and victory and in the glorious view…” pg 147 We noted that the ‘the sense of achievement’ she describes suggests that the spiritual heights and ‘peaks’ where the result of her own effort. The peaks and valleys she described where from her perspective; how she felt she was doing in her walk with the Lord. In reality, this high feeling may be self righteousness, and the low points when she felt a sense of failure… “As I went down from the present peak into the valley between the mountains, I was often shadowed by the very peak I had been enjoying. This I interpreted in a sense of failure and this often led to despair…” May in fact, from Gods perspective have been the times when she was closest to the Lord and realised that she needed Christ more. Maybe God brings us low in to the valleys, to show us that our effort alone is not satisfactory to bring us into a right relationship with God, but that it is all Christ. What we see as valleys, may be the peaks God sees.

It is easy to fall into a sense of self righteous achievement. Sometimes even when we try to do the right thing, by spending more time in the word, getting up early to pray and have devotions, and do lots of good things for others, we feel like we’re doing really well it can be spoiled by our ‘revelling in our own sense of achievement’ rather than remembering that it is God’s achievement. It reminds me a bit of Mary and Martha.

Learning from her African brethren: The Africans she was there to minister to and along side taught her a lot about the Lord that she could not have learned at home in England. They exhibited a very Christ like love to her that she hadn’t seen before. I also found it interesting how the colour of her skin effected her. Page 159 “Pastor Ndugu… leaned toward me. “Helen… why can’t you forget for a moment that you are white? You’ve helped so many Africans to find cleansing and filling and joy in the Holy Spirit through the blood of Jesus Christ. Why don’t you let Him do for you what He has done for so many others?”
He … opened up to me hidden areas in my heart that I had hardly even suspected, particular this one of race prejudice. I was horrified…” She came to teach them, and yet it was they who taught her so much.

Gods Answers prayers:
How amazing was Gods answer to prayer on page 157. The providence of God is truly amazing as God answered the prayer 7 months earlier before the need had arisen or the words of the prayer were even spoken. What an impact such a specific answer to prayer must have been for the little girl who prayed. We should not be surprised.

Suffering: It is difficult to read about the things she suffered at the hands of the Guerrilla’s (Simbas) as I found myself thinking ‘why didn't God have protect her’. We discussed how ‘Gods Best’ is not always what we expect or want. When we read in Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” we often think of Gods ‘good’ as our physical protection, but it is not always so. We talked about the very personal example of one of our friends who’s cousin was in a car accident and left brain damaged. Everyone prayed that he would get well if it was the Lords will, but he did not. Most thought that his recovery or healing was best. But 'Gods best' was the conversion of the young mans family due to the accident and the injury. God's best; End result, the salvation of others.

God didn’t protect Helen from rape, abuse and beating, but he used her “They’re not attacking you. They are attacking me. I’m just using your body to show myself to the people around you.” Page 166. Because of what she’d been through she was able to help a young nun “One young nun had been raped and felt as if she’d betrayed God and her promises to God. Because of her similar experience, Helen was able to break through the woman’s despairing barrier, as no one else could.” Page 166. She was also able to 'protect some fo the other women from undergoing a new trauma they might posssibly have escaped so far.' page 167

It was also encouraging as it shows us that we can suffer terrible trauma and survive. In fact it often changes our perspective an forces us to look toward heaven.

Philippians 3:10 “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death”