I am sorry I haven't blogged since the end of October. I have found that I haven't really had either the energy or the heart to do it. However a man must eventually emerge from his cave.
Through the first half of this term, on a crazy roller-coaster journey, we laboured at getting the purchase of Solar House to the point of exchange of contracts. By the time Jane and I went on holiday at the end of October I thought we had done it; everything was ready and no doubt I would hear the news via text while we were away. But the text never materialised. Each day I checked, wildly tapping my phone thinking there must be something wrong with it. When we arrived home it soon became clear that the deal hadn't happened. There were yet more problems and obstacles. Previously unimagined complications and difficulties had been discovered.
Since the beginning of November, the wrestling bout has continued. The vendors understandably were getting frustrated with the ongoing delays, at one point out of sheer exasperation withdrawing the papers from us. But again by the week starting 24th I was once more convinced that we were ready. Everything had been thought of, every risk had been allowed for; surely now we would exchange contracts on the purchase of Solar House. Yet nothing seemed to be happening. I realised that the blockage might be as simple as making sure that everyone who needed to, had physically signed the appropriate papers. We hurriedly arranged a courier to send the papers around everyone at our end. Now we were ready.
But then a key person was off sick and a couple more days slipped by. Because the deal was hanging from a thread and the vendors were fast losing their patience with us, we at St Bs again asserted our desire to exchange contracts immediately. But now, with all the delays, we were only a couple of days from knowing the results of the marketing campaign on the sale of our Holden Road church site. Prudent voices at the diocese said we should wait.
Then the bombshell dropped. The marketing of our Holden Road Church site had not delivered the expected level of offers. Once again we were faced with what looked like an unbreachable financial shortfall. And so the wrestling bout continues, and right now it feels like we are on the deck, being counted out.
So critical is our situation that on Tuesday evening I called an impromptu prayer meeting for a select group of intercessors who pray daily for the project. At the meeting I was reminded of the time in Mark 6 when Jesus had sent the disciples on ahead of him across the lake. The disciples were straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them walking on the lake and was about to pass by. The disciples cried out fearing they were seeing a ghost, but Jesus said "take courage, it is I, don't be afraid". Then when he climbed into the boat the wind died down. It feels like we have been straining at the oars and progress has been at best slow. We really do need Jesus in the boat.
We continue to believe that God will deliver Solar House into our hands, only right now we don't know how.