DAY 134: Wednesday 30 September
Good morning all
Yesterday was our wedding anniversary which Karen and I celebrated by driving to Tamworth and filling up her car with diesel – the first refuel since May! - We know how to celebrate!!
Over the past 13 years there have been times when both of us have felt misunderstood; remarks made that I thought funny but not appreciated by Karen, or times when I didn’t fully understand her words and feelings. It’s all part of the wonder of marriage and those times of misunderstanding certainly teach us to forgive one another and not to hold grudges because of something we thought was said but we may have misheard or very often was uttered in innocence. Marriage is also the relationship where we grow to understand what each other is NOT saying – the moments when no words need to be spoken because we can sense and understand each other’s thoughts.
Many years ago, I was driving down the M1 to a business meeting somewhere and decided to pull into Watford Gap services. Over the last half mile or so in the inside lane I was following behind a very nice blue BMW car and noticed the registration plate - K9 DEN. I ended up parking just a couple of spaces away from this car and as the smartly dressed driver got out, I called across to him saying I was amused by his number plate. “What d’ya mean?” the gentleman responded in a broad Black Country accent as if I had said something rude or insulting. I explained that it was amusing as I imagined the BMW was his means of personal escape. To my mind, the hidden meaning of K9 DEN was ‘canine den’ – in other words it was his doghouse to which he could retreat to if things got difficult at home. However, the gentleman obviously didn’t share my sense of humour and bluntly retorted – “No, me name’s Dennis” before striding off to the café. Another of the many times in my life when I have been misunderstood.
Yesterday, the PM apologised for having been misunderstood and causing confusion in his statement about what people in the North East can and can’t do socialising with others. His excuse was that he had ‘misspoke’ which the dictionary defines as ‘to express oneself in an insufficiently clear or accurate way’. So that would imply that the people of the North East didn’t really misunderstand because the original message was ‘not expressed in a sufficiently clear or accurate way’.
We all know how frustrating it can be when we think we have given clear instructions but then those instructions are not followed. Often the excuse will be ‘sorry, I must have misunderstood’ to which we respond, ‘I could hardly have made it clearer’. So we end up with both sides upset – we are frustrated because our instructions weren’t followed, and the other person is upset because they think you didn’t made it clear or they misunderstood.
If we become upset when we think we have been misunderstood, just stop for a moment and think how God feels looking at the world he created and seeing what mankind has done – rebelling against the Almighty, rejecting God’s gift of salvation through his son, Jesus Christ, and then refusing his gift of forgiveness and eternal life.
Isaiah 44:18 - People like that don’t even know what they are doing. Their eyes are shut so that they can’t see the truth. Their minds are closed so that they can’t understand it.
In the Old Testament, the prophet Habakkuk complained that Holy God seemed to be doing nothing to punish the arrogance and blatant sin of mankind where every commandment was being broken and men were just getting away with it and also destroying God’s creation (sounds like the world we’re living in). But this was to misunderstand God’s purposes – He will act in His time and His way, not how we think He should. Ultimately our Heavenly Father will bring things to the triumphant conclusion He has already ordained and we as believers will be a part of that. So, don’t misunderstand, simply trust and believe.
Hymnalong >>> MY TIMES ARE IN YOUR HANDS (Psalm 31)
Many of you have been in touch to say how much you enjoyed being in Chapel again last Sunday and that you are looking forward to next week when we should have Ciaran speaking, possibly for the last time before he moves away from the Midlands (although he promises to come back to visit in the future).
Remember that Sunday morning seating capacity is strictly limited and MUST be booked in advance with Karen. Those of you who attended last Sunday have already indicated your intention to come next Sunday, but if you were not with us last Sunday and haven’t already booked your place, you do need to phone us or email your booking to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d like to have the final numbers not later than Friday so we can set out the chairs before Sunday please. And don’t forget to read the instructions for attending (PDF attached)
For those of you who knit for Africa missions, you will be pleased to know that at last all the boxes that have been accumulating since February were finally delivered to MMN by Paul and Mike (many thanks) last week and are due to be packed into the shipping container to go to Africa in the next couple of weeks. You can once again get into the Missions Room now all those boxes have gone and Karen will be re-ordering more wool stocks in due course.
Looking forward to seeing some of you again on Sunday morning, and if not, stay safe and encouraged that whilst we may misunderstand Father God too often, He never misunderstands us