The whole of Britain is waiting with bated breath for the UK Chancellor to announce his spending review and with it the details of the government's cutbacks in public spending. Although we are not part of the UK here, we share an interest in what happens over the water as it will undoubtedly have an eventual effect upon us in time. In any case, even though we have no national debt to speak of, Guernsey is facing a similar process of reigning in the spending of public bodies so as to avoid a deficit here too. The phrase 'no gain without pain' comes to mind!
When it comes to undergoing pain in order to grow or make gains, I feel that I may have just a little experience of that in my own life! Serious illness forces you to cut back and expend less energy and activity just to get through, and you find yourself having to let go of activities you would once have thought essential to your own sense of who you are. These cutbacks appear to be setbacks, but they can actually also be opportunities to review and refocus on what really does matter. It is amazing how much you think you need to hold onto in order to fulfil your calling, and how much you can let go of without losing effectiveness in ministry. What we are is so much important than what we do.
I am reading a superb book on a similar subject at the moment. Written by Joni Tada A Place of Healing: Wrestling with the Mysteries of Suffering, Pain, and God's Sovereignty is a tremendous outline of the theological position I myself have written about in Storm Force. It is such a comfort to those of us who believe in a God who heals, yet who are in chronic pain, to discover that in the kingdom of God there has been no cutback in the comfort of the Holy Spirit or the ministry of the Word of God. We have had to cut all sorts of activities and busyness, but are still able to serve God in small ways each day. I recommend this as good reading for you too.
Cutbacks don't necessarily have to be setbacks when God is in charge.