Dear Friends

I know all of you continue to be shocked and saddened by the news Martin and I have experienced substantial difficulties in our working relationship and that Martin made the decision to resign.

It has been a difficult journey for us, and we are very grateful for your prayers, but we know that you are also hurting and so we also pray for you and lift up our leadership team up in prayer as well.

Over the last year I have been reading a devotional guide I inherited from my cousin Robyn called Voices from the Past, a collection of excerpts from sermons by Puritans. I inherited it because my cousin fell unexpectedly very ill on holiday in Europe this time last year. Knowing, I think, how seriously ill she was, she decided not to go to hospital there, but flew home and died a week later in Sydney, surrounded by her mother and brothers and other family.

It’s a curious devotional guide. Puritan preaching was harsh and uncompromising, and sometimes the prose leaves me feeling I’ve been pummelled all over, but reading it this week, I came across this entry on trust in God:

In a tempest a believer must cast his anchor upward. Trust is a believer’s choicest antidote against over-grieving, murmuring, sinking, desponding, despairing… In this tempest, faith sits at the helm and preserves the soul from shipwreck. Faith grapples with the Goliath of affliction and overcomes it. When the heart is apt to fail, when the soul is apt to swoon, faith draws forth its bottle and administers a reviving cordial. Amidst all storms, winds and tempests, yea, in a hurricane of sorrow and misery, faith knows where and how to cast anchor: ‘Let not your hearts be troubled’ (John 14:1)…. God has extraordinary means to bear us up when ordinary ones fail. He can turn poisons into antidotes, hindrances into furtherances, and destructions into deliverances. The ravens gave Elijah food. A whale becomes Jonah’s ship, and pilot too. An Almighty God can work without means. God often brings his people into such a condition that they do not know what to do. He does this that they might know what he can do. God is with his people at all times, but he is most sweetly with them in the worst of times.

One of the surprises at Robyn’s funeral came from a woman who lived in the unit above Robyn’s, who said to my aunt, “I am really going to miss Robyn’s beautiful singing voice!”

“Beautiful singing voice!” said my aunt. “She never sang!”

Oh no she did, the woman assured her and explained that every morning, in her bathroom, she would hear old hymns or praise songs, faint but very sweet, coming up through the pipes from Robyn’s bathroom below. “It was a tremendous comfort for me,” she said, “to hear those sounds.”

May God find ways to support all of us at this time; to be most sweetly with us. Amen.