05. Rector's Newsletter

Rector's letter for February 2024

‘Lent – God’s perfect timing…’

A line from a song I heard recently went; “I’d have patience if only I had the time”. Patience can be one of the hardest virtues for us to understand. In a world of instant makeovers, instant food, instant internet, instant credit (and instant ulcers!) patience seems to have been relegated to the ‘bad old days’ of yesteryear. Why wait when we can have everything instantly…?

We pray to a God who knows everything, including our needs. We know that he’s able to help us at any moment he chooses. We know that he who defines himself as ‘love’ and gave his Son for us isn’t reluctant to help us. So why, when we ask God to intervene in our situation, is there often a delay?

Nowhere in the Bible does God promise instant answers to our prayers. His promises for answered prayer are both amazing and reassuring, but none of them include a timetable. He only assures us that he’s never too late.

Yet, in our impatience, we don’t want an answer that’s merely ‘not too late’. We want an answer now. We have needs, and we don’t understand why those needs must be prolonged.

But God has his reasons.

Perhaps our needs are being prolonged because they’re accomplishing something in us that nothing else will. Perhaps they’re being prolonged because God is doing a necessary work in the life of someone else who is involved in our situation. Perhaps he’s teaching us about the nature of prayer or perfecting our faith. Maybe he’s even letting us identify with Jesus and his sufferings. He’s always trying to conform us to the likeness of Christ and perhaps this is another way of doing that.

Sometimes God will make clear that our answer is delayed because the delay will further his work in our own hearts or in another area. Sometimes he gives us no reason at all. The Christian disciple’s wise response, in either case, is to know that if we are waiting on God, there must be a very good reason. And if we wait in faith and expectancy, the wait will be amply rewarded.

During the season of Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday, 14th February this year, we enter a time set aside by the Church for hundreds of years as a time to be patient, a time to wait upon God and seek his direction and leading. God’s timing is always perfect. Faithfully wait upon him and be patient.

With every blessing this Lent.

Revd Paul

The Revd Paul Wilson

Rector of the Epworth Group of Churches

Priest-in-Charge of the Belton Group of Churches

Assistant Curate of the Crowle Group of Churches and the Haxey and Owston Ferry Plurality

Rural Dean of the Isle of Axholme Deanery