Letter from St Mark's House

St Mark's House

October - November 2020

 

Dear friends 

Lockdown. That word and its ‘associates’ - quarantine, curfew, shutdown, self-isolation, cabin fever - have become depressingly familiar, even frightening, to many over the last few months. These words identify the confinements within which we live and advice abounds on ‘Living With Worry And Anxiety Amidst Global Uncertainty’ but, as another psychiatrist reviewing the current situation observes, “If I could find a way to package and dispense hope, I would have a pill more powerful than any antidepressant on the market.” 

God’s people are described as “prisoners of hope”. Are the confinements within which we live those imposed by the world around us or those informed by the word of God? We will be influenced and affected by events and people around us - using author Gordon McDonald’s categories: ‘VDPs’ (Very Draining People!) who affect us with negativity or ‘VIPs’ (Very Inspiring People) who foster hope. Prisoners, of course, have no choice about their surroundings, but we do!

One of the reasons people aren't overflowing with hope is because their hope is misplaced - a job, a relationship, the economy or politics. Their inadequacy is increasingly evident for they were never meant to be the source of that which God alone can supply. God's children are not exempt from trials and tribulations, but often we let them dictate our thoughts, moods and attitudes. Rather we should trust in the promise that in all things God works for good for those who love Him. We are writing this at harvest time - “a harvest to forget” according to Farmers Weekly. But it is nothing to the national disaster and pestilence faced by one Biblical writer who nonetheless declared “Though the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Saviour.”

At St Mark’s we support Christians Against Poverty. Their current mailing has on the envelope ‘Always Hope’. They tell the inspiring story (one of many) of Charlotte and Dave who found freedom from debt, faith in Christ and friends to support them. Dave writes, “when Char and I read God's word we know that he came for us, for the broken, and that gives us a real hope. Psalm 40 is one of my favourites because it's my story: “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, … he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.”

In these difficult days of coronavirus with the uncertainty and lurking fear, where is your hope grounded? As the popular modern hymn puts it
In Christ alone my hope is found 
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.

In Christ

Nick and Harriet

Bible references: Zechariah 9:12; Habakkuk 3.17-19; Psalm 40.1-2