OK, so there is nothing in this post which concerns loathing, but there is something about fear – and everything seemed to take place in Larbert.
This is my first contribution to Sons of Thunder because I’ve been a little sidetracked by two life-changing events which have taken place in the last few weeks.
These were: the birth of my daughter, Phoebe, our first child, and the second was going before the board of ministry of the Baptist Union of Scotland.
The first has seen a very definite and monumental change to my life.
Having Phoebe is an absolute joy. Yes, the weight of responsibility is enormous, yes, I’m having to cope with very little sleep, but nothing worldly compares to the joy of cradling her in my arms.
What I want to talk about is what happened during Ruth’s labour, 18 days ago in Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert.
We had been in the hospital for about 16 hours and labour had been progressing as expected. But towards the end of that time we were told by the medical staff that we were going to have to go to theatre.
Ruth was whisked away to be prepared and I was handed an ill-fitting pair of scrubs and an even more ill-fitting pair of clogs and given a few minutes to change before I would be escorted to theatre too.
I lifted my phone to send a quick text to my family and my pastor, asking for them to pray for us as we went into surgery.
To my horror, I pushed one button and was faced with the message:
“Battery drained. Handheld shutting down.”
There would be no prayer blanket because nobody else knew what was happening.
In that moment, however, I didn’t ever feel isolated or alone, but was conscious of the presence of God. And I had a sense of Him saying to me, ‘Why are you relying on the prayers of other people? I can hear you and I am listening.’
In that moment, spending time alone with God, a verse came to me.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.” 1 John 4:18
I know He loves me and He loves me perfectly, as His child. And I know He loves Ruth with the perfection that only He has.
And so, there was no reason to be fearful any more.
Less than 10 minutes after this encounter, I was cradling Phoebe in my arms, with thanksgiving to almighty God for the wonderful gift that she is.
I’ve always hated exams and interviews. However I have always been settled by the knowledge that they don’t last very long and, if you mess up, you usually don’t have to see the interviewers ever again.
The BUS board of ministry is a little different. These are people that I’m never going to be able to avoid in future – and the procedure involves two days of close contact with the board, including a combined three hours plus of interviews. And all of this takes place at Carronvale House in Larbert.
In true McCaig style, I have spent the time since everything finished fretting over every poor answer and every tongue tied moment.
But at no point was I afraid. I wasn’t afraid because I know that God loves me perfectly.
I went before the board seeking affirmation of the call I have experienced from God and because I want to seek His will in everything – and in particular this next phase of my life.
In the coming days I pray that He speaks to me as clearly as He did in that hospital room.
But whatever happens, I look forward to following His leading, guiding and direction – and I will do so without fear.