Column: Day I was locked up and not a single person missed me

Rt Rev Geoff Pearson, Bishop of Lancaster
Rt Rev Geoff Pearson, Bishop of Lancaster

When I first moved into Bishop’s House more than 10 years ago, I stood at the front door directing operations.

As the removal men brought items from the van I tried to direct them to the right room. All seemed to be going smoothly until an item came for the garage. I carried it down the lane to the garage and tried to manipulate the up-and-over door. Unfortunately the door closed behind me and locked me in. I didn't have a mobile phone on me so I tried shouting from a small window on the side. All in vain, nobody heard me. I must have been locked in there for at least 30 minutes until one of the removers brought something else to the garage.

The painful thing from my point of view was not so much being locked in the garage, but the fact that nobody seemed to have missed me! There I was thinking how important I was directing operations when in fact it carried on fine without me.

So who is in charge of your journey through 2017? How much can you influence the events and direction of travel? The words of an old hymn by Alfred B. Smith help me:

"I know who holds the future

And He'll guide me with his hand

With God things don't just happen,

Everything by Him is planned.

So as I face tomorrow,

With its problems large and small,

I'll trust the God of miracles,

Give to Him my all."

None of us know what this year will bring and there are many things beyond our control. Better to trust the one who does hold the future in His hands, and know His blessing on the way.

"The Lord bless you and keep you;

The Lord make His face to shine upon you

and be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up the light of His countenance

and give you peace." (Old Testament, Numbers 6)

That combination of grace and peace is about well-being and inner tranquility. It is more then material benefits can offer, and it comes when we stop trying to direct operations ourselves and receive from the giver of all good gifts.