Last night at the central prayer meeting a couple of words were spoken out in the prayers, both of which I have been given before.
The first word was about Nehemiah persevering with the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem in the teeth of threatening opposition. Charles Spurgeon's famous magazine started in 1865, and still published today, is entitled "The sword and trowel", a reference to Nehemiah's instructions that each of the builders had his sword strapped at his side while he built (Nehemiah 4:18). The idea that we simultaneously build and battle is deeply embedded in our Go and Grow history. The whole project has been a battle from the beginning, where we have often found ourselves fighting a rear-guard action as we attempt to move forward. This continues to be our daily experience, as every turn throws up yet another seemingly insurmountable obstacle to be miraculously overcome.
These successive impediments take many and various forms including: challenges to our financial viability, external pressures to compromise the scheme in some area, design idiosyncrasies that threaten to mess up certain aspects of the plans, and so on. All this keeps us constantly on our toes, never quite knowing what bizarre twist will blindside us next. I hesitate to over-spiritualise this by attributing the roller-coaster nature of the Go and Grow journey to the devil's conspiracy against us. But it certainly continues to be a battle. It is all very exhausting.
That brings me to the second word, which was a word from Exodus 17 that I blogged about last July. It is from the account of Moses watching a battle between the Israelites and the Amalekites, where so long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning. When Moses got tired, Aaron and Hur held up his hands. Again I am reminded that, whilst I am the figurehead leader for the Go and Grow project, it is actually a team effort. Just today we have appointed a Project Director to help coordinate the delivery of the project for St Bs and I am excited to have another capable pair of hands on side. We must all learn (and relearn) constantly to put our whole trust in God, our refuge and strength, and very present help in trouble (Ps 46:1).