Waiting on the Lord?


For SIM Malawi’s communications team, Ian and Lindsay Farrimond, the last year or so has not gone as planned.

Well, not as they planned anyway!

 “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint,” Isaiah 40:31

Chapter 40 of the Book of Isaiah has a resonance for Lindsay and for me. We have sung the opening verses many times as Christmas Carols or in part of in full performances of Handel’s Messiah. But it is the closing of that chapter that has had special resonance in the last year or so.

We left Malawi at the end of March 2015 for six months’ Home Assignment. And here we are (at the time of writing) in early May 2016 still in the UK still on Home Assignment. Why?

Out first few months were full of appointments to speak in churches, to meet supporters, to take a holiday and to catch up with our two daughters.

When the wheels came off!

Then came our medical which was required before we went back to the field. And that is when the wheels started to fall off!

Ian and Lindsay teaching a Chichewa worship song in their home church, Holy Trinity, Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne

Lindsay had a, thankfully benign, tumour growing around a nerve bundle in her neck which required surgery. Ian had some problems with his Type 2 Diabetes which required closer monitoring. And suddenly the end of September return date passed with no sign of a return.

Joyous time ... but anxious

Then Christmas and New Year came and went, a second Easter in the UK happened – joyous times, all with our daughters and our home church community but still the anxiety about if or when we would return continued to grow.

I will admit there were times when we asked the question “Why?” over and over again. There were times, certainly for me, wondering if we would actually be going back to Malawi at all.

But now there is hope that we may be returning soon. There is still no fixed date but at least conversations about returning have begun and the prognosis from the medical side is looking better.

So again, the question “Why?” comes up. Why the problems, why the delay? I think the answer is that perhaps we were, certainly I was, too keen or anxious to get back to Malawi. I think that God needed to slow things down so that we could be properly prepared to return to the rigours of the field. And, just maybe, He wanted to us to rest a bit more in Him, to realise that it is His work we should be doing, not ours.

So why so personal a view?

So why are we telling such a personal story here?

It is because missionaries do face times of uncertainty and difficulty both on the field and at home and it is important to realise and accept this.

Please pray for missionaries when the unexpected crops up. Sometimes we find ourselves asking “why?”, sometimes the challenges  require extra patience, or maybe our “now” is not God’s timing. 

Pray also that we would all wait patiently on the Lord, and allow him to renew our strength in his good and perfect will.