Chapter 2: Priscilla and Aquila – tough situations
Sometimes change is unwelcome and leads us into tough situations that we have to navigate. But God can weave even the toughest situations into good for us and others.
See below stories from Anna, Caroline and Rachel about what happened when they were faced with tough changes.
Friendships at school can be hard – Anna shares about what God did when she was thrown out of her friendship group.
When I was in secondary school, my friends sat me down and said they’d decided I couldn’t be in their friendship group anymore. There wasn’t any particular reason they could give and I was sure I hadn’t done anything wrong so it felt really unfair. I was really panicked about what I would do at lunch and break times. I remember telling God how worried I was and asking him to make it better, even though I didn’t really see how. I didn’t want to be friends with these people anymore as I felt I could no longer trust them and I also thought I already knew everyone in my year and they were all settled in their friendship groups. Very soon after our timetables changed and I ended up being in almost every lesson with a girl I’d never met before. She took the initiative to befriend me and when her Bible fell out of her school bag, I realised she was a Christian. I’d never had a Christian friend at school before and she became one of the people that most helped me grow in my faith. She was a brilliant friend all through my teens and is still one of my closest friends and encouragers twenty years later.
When her plans didn’t work out, Caroline was really angry with God – but he had better plans for her.
When I was 13 and a brand new Christian my parents were planning to move house. I was very excited because they were looking at an area that actually had a lively church and great youth group which some of the girls in my class went to. My parents weren’t Christians but I really wanted to go to a church and a youth group and there wasn’t anything where we lived. The house purchase fell through and I was as devastated as my parents but for different reasons. I felt angry with my parents and with God especially as they then chose an area that I had not heard of and where none of my school Christian friends lived. But lo and behold our new house had a great church and youth group just 10 minutes’ walk away and that’s where I met my husband! God knew the best place for me and my family!
Rachel describes what happened when she discovered she went on a trip with no-one she knew.
God and gas in the desert: Richard talks about a time he found really tough.
A few years ago I was working on the development of a new gas field, commuting weekly between London and the Middle East. Working in the gas business can feel remote from reality – you can neither see nor touch nor smell the actual product and it doesn’t usually start flowing commercially until some years after the main development work is done.
This commute meant I had to pull out of mid-week family and church life. This might have been OK for a period but the work hit endless hurdles and it felt like I was in both a literal and a spiritual desert. At the time I did not know why it worked out like this and I had to try, sometimes unsuccessfully, not to get angry with God (bad moments were when the airport officials got to know me by name, and when the hotel receptionists were saying ‘welcome home’). My prayers, and those of family and friends, didn’t seem to be leading anywhere. At church I started doing welcoming on Sundays, because home-groups and the like in the rest of the week were just not possible. I also got involved in a men’s breakfast which met on occasional Saturdays.
At the time and for quite a while afterwards I didn’t have a clear sense of what those three years were all about – maybe sometimes God just wants us sometimes to get on with what is front of us as best we can and not try and figure it all out. But now, with further hindsight I can see three things God was teaching me. Firstly serving Him with integrity at work and stewarding the world’s resources well is an important calling – and Britain needs responsibly produced gas. Secondly, I now absolutely love welcoming at church on Sundays: God has grown a heart in me that really wants to welcome people into his family, and I love looking out for newcomers, the slightly lost, the regulars who are struggling, and of course joyful friends. And finally, after attending the men’s breakfast which fed me while I was in the desert, I now host one myself, which under God’s grace I believe similarly feeds those who come.
A woman sitting with feeling sad while traveling with a lot of baggages by Farknot_Architect via Canva Pro