Pastors Peter Simpson and John Sherwood, helped by members of the congregation at Penn, were preaching the gospel in the centre of High Wycombe on March 10th. It was a glorious spring day, and some useful conversations were entered into. In God’s providence, one of the lady helpers, Mrs Pilkington, was able to speak and pray with 5 passers-by altogether, which was really encouraging.
Pastor Sherwood also had a long conversation with a man about the urgency of coming to Christ. Nothing is more important for any individual than to consider the reality of sin and alienation from God, the need to be reconciled to Him, and the whole issue of the destiny of his or her immortal spirit. The man sadly appeared to have something of a problem with alcohol, but was thankfully able to enter into a reasonable discussion.
Another man came up to Pastor Simpson, and said that God is not a caring, loving God, because he recently underwent a personal injury through a dangerous incident concerning a house fire.
Pastor Simpson replied that, whilst the man may have suffered some harm, he had escaped, and was still relatively healthy and mobile. This sad event had come about in God’s providence, and the man did not suffer a more serious injury or lose his life. This was a blessing which he should be thanking God for, despite the genuine seriousness of the incident.
After a moment‘s reflection, the man agreed that this was indeed a preferable attitude, and that God indeed had been merciful to him in protecting him from more serious harm. Pastor Simpson offered him a leaflet explaining the gospel.
Often the non-believer can use some grave personal affliction as a reason to reject God. This is so sad, because the Lord speaks to men through their circumstances, graciously drawing them to Himself and showing them their dependence upon Him. Yes, we live in a fallen world where things go wrong, and Christians of course are not exempted from the crises and tragedies which go with living in such a world. Nevertheless, affliction affords a providential opportunity for both the believer and the non-Christian to draw near to God and to realise his dependence upon Him.
May this gentleman to whom Pastor Simpson spoke be encouraged to think more closely about the providence of God in his daily life, and about his need to be personally reconciled to God through the Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed, the witnessing brethren are praying that all who heard the gospel in High Wycombe may realise their dependence upon Christ, not only for their everyday circumstances, but also for their eternal salvation.