On walking on water and not knowing the future

In a recent post I mentioned that we had decided to move, and that I was not sure what would be ahead. This is a post about continued uncertainty and frustration, and how it is possible at the same time to feel really insecure about the future, yet utterly secure that God has a plan.

I did not get the job I applied for at the college where William works. I have to admit that I am basically really upset about that, on top of also not getting another job earlier in the year. At the same time, the sale of our house is proving difficult, with lots of queries being raised by the buyers’ solicitor, ironically more about our leasehold garage than the freehold house. It all means that while, a couple of months ago, we would have expected to have moved by now, we are still in our old house and I have lost that part of my identity which comes from having a job/ministry title. I woke up in the middle of the night a couple of nights ago and considered for a second pulling the plug on the house sale and staying exactly where we are. But that is clearly neither right nor possible.

When the apostle Peter got out of his boat to walk on the water towards Jesus (Matthew 14:28ff), there must have been a moment in which he felt as he never had before: the water was wet; how much of his feet got covered without him sinking? Perhaps it was like that insecure feeling you get on a roller-coaster: your stomach goes up and down but you still have that basic belief that you will get safely to the end of the ride (until he didn’t – but even then Jesus saved him.) What I mean is that he could have felt insecure while knowing he really wasn’t. I think that’s where I am at the moment. Feeling uncertain is compatible with faith.

This morning I read Isaiah’s prophecy to Hezekiah, given in the context of the promise of relief from the Assyrian siege of Jerusalem. Hezekiah and his people were being promised a miraculous deliverance, and in that context:

This year you will eat what grows by itself; and the second year what springs from that. But in the third year sow and reap, plant vineyards and eat their fruit.” (2 Kings 19:29)

Reflecting on that, I wonder if what God is saying is for me to take some time to do what is before me right now: manage the house move, then get to grips with the new house and garden (perhaps literally eating what is growing by itself there.)  Then there will be whatever springs from that: what will this move bring? Though I do not have a paid or named role in the college, we are still sure that God’s leading was for William and me to have a more joined-up life, which means that I will try to make relationships with his colleagues and students, and some contribution to the life of the college in general.  In fact I have freedom to do “what springs” instead of sticking to a job description. Maybe significant fruit can still be found. And perhaps there will be a time in the future for some more deliberate sowing, reaping and planting. Literal or metaphorical? My farmer son will, I’m sure, be only too glad to encourage me to do some literal planting and reaping in our new, huge garden. (And, I would add, jam making.)

I have always thought I would be a rubbish housewife. I’ve never not worked or studied. And I hate tidying up. But it seems that I have a time ahead of me in which I will get the chance to serve William in a new way. I spent a lot of today trying to understand and edit the website and facebook page of an organisation of which he has just become the chair, so that I can post things for him. There is still stuff for me to do, which is encouraging.

But if you want to invite me to come and preach anywhere, I’d probably jump at the chance!

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8 Responses to On walking on water and not knowing the future

  1. Pat Kennett says:

    Can empathise with this so much. There is a time for fallowness, which allows the “soil” to rest and recuperate enough to be able to absorb twice as much water as it otherwise could. Rest and absorb for a while, my friend.

  2. Lizzie says:

    I know your frustration, in a way. I want to be social again and I’m going to the church knitting club on Monday. I’m also going to join a gym and another knitting club, and try to get some sort of purpose. I know it’s like limbo at the moment but regardless, you will get there. I miss you very much….don’t forget to write! I am inspired by your determination. Love Lizzie xxx

    • Alison says:

      Bless you Lizzie. I read about your knitting club and thought how perfect it sounded for you. It’s great to see you being so positive just now. Love to you. Actually I do have something I’ve been meaning to send you for months, so I hope to do so soon!

      • Lizzie says:

        Me too!! Oh thank you for thinking of me. You are so wonderful. It’s Jesus who made me positive, and because I am I think opportunities are just coming my way. All I’ve done is when alone I make an image of Jesus sitting opposite me then I feel His peace more. We have so got to meet sometime but until then stay so positive, too. You are my role model for life! Bless you for being so kind to me all these years. I still feel your love. Hope you feel mine too. Xxxx

        • Alison says:

          I do and I thank you for it. In fact, rather than sending you a little something (OK I admit it – it’s still last year’s Christmas present!), why don’t I come over and treat you to a coffee some time in the week? My diary is currently empty so say which day suits you.

  3. Emma says:

    We can empathise with you very much so at the moment. With Dan out of work and losing his identity as ‘provider’, our family is almost restructuring itself. As harsh a loss as it has been, not only for Dan but for us all, it has come at a time where Dan has been needed even more at home. God has provided for our needs and as a family have been blessed with love and support from family and friends. So now we trust God that He has our future in His hands, just as He has your future in them too. Bless you both x

    • Alison says:

      Amen, thanks so much Emma. It was great to hear from Dan the other day too and I thought he also seemed very positive about your situation. It’s true that God knows what we need and provides in ways we don’t expect. Much love to you all. xx

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