I think there are few sights sadder than a forest decimated by the woodcutter’s axe. Each tree is beautiful, and sometimes the time comes when it has to be cut down, but it is rarely without some sadness.
In our beautiful land of Wales, many chapels have had to be closed, and this too has not happened without much sadness, and as in any bereavement we have to grieve, but also open our hearts to God to allow Him to bring healing.
I have a dear friend, a farmer’s wife, who for years struggled to keep her chapel open, but eventually the axe fell and she is grieving and hurt. In praying for her I have been recalling my own experience and felt that I should share it, not just with her, but with you, my faithful blog-readers.
A tree had been planted in Porthcawl. Joel’s father had helped in the planting, and so Joel, retired, felt called to help to build up the work.
The tree was struggling. ‘Pot bound’, Joel said, to mix my metaphors, but there was growth, and fruit. However, the great Gardener allowed the woodcutter not just to prune, but to cut it right down.
Comforted in measure, we attended Cornelly Apostolic Church, but had many opportunities to minister in other struggling churches; then, shortly before my husband’s sudden and unexpected death, God spoke to us that now was the time to build again in Porthcawl. Joel was full of faith. Almost his last words were, ‘I believe God is going to do great things.’
Soon after his death I heard that Brackla were planning a church plant in Porthcawl. I am privileged to have been involved in Grace Community Church and believe that this is the strong bough God had shown us.
We have just had our third ‘Church Away Weekend.’ From tiny babies, through to every age, I was the oldest, and was thoroughly spoiled.
But the wonderful thing for me was that the one who had the painful duty of wielding the axe was now with us as minister for the weekend, gently nurturing new growth, and strengthening God’s planting.
How happy I am that Tom & Lorraine have been able to see all that God is doing, but also that there had been healing of hearts and relationship in the long years in between; those years when we had not understood why God had allowed this to happen but had been able to trust Him in it all, and had allowed him to keep us sweet.