Ruth Dickinson

We can't plan for everything
First Word

There are some things we can plan for, and other things we definitely cannot. The new year is a traditional time to take stock of where we’re at with God, and make some plans for where we want to go next. For us in the office, it became obvious after ten minutes of self-analysis that there were things we could consciously do to improve our spiritual lives, whether that was denying ourselves something which has a negative impact, or committing to doing something positive. You can read about how we got on. If it inspires you to try something new, the first step in any of this is being around people who can talk to you about what you think you could change. We’re often blind to our own weaknesses, so I’d recommend asking others what they think you should do – give them permission to be honest!

It might feel like two steps forward, one step back, but the steady practice of discipline and evaluation does help in the long term. Practising the disciplines, and prayer in particular, does help us when things go wrong, as this month’s profile interview, Fabrice Muamba, will testify. The ex-Bolton player made headlines this year when he technically died after collapsing at an FA Cup match. It prompted a huge wave of public support and prayer and, amazingly, he is completely recovered.

He tells Andy Walton about how he wants to give all the glory to God for his miraculous return to health.

Of course, we don’t all get to witness miracles first-hand, and for some of us, no amount of striving

or resolutions seems to make any difference to our relationship with God. Spiritual dryness is a topic which we will return to time and time again in the magazine, because it’s something almost everyone goes through. Bishop John Pritchard’s piece on what to do when it feels like God has disappeared, or was never there, has some helpful advice and reflection.

Wherever you’re at in your spiritual life – whether it’s bouncing off the ceiling from having witnessed a miracle, or feeling in the desert – I hope this magazine provides some encouragement for you.

I wish you all a happy new year. And if you meet someone at a party over the festive season, remember, you never know where it might lead. I’m not giving you any clues – you’ll have to read the extraordinary story to find out. 


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