Spirit Sightings

February 21, 2016: Trusting God


From Fraser Macnaughton

In whom can we place our trust? In most societies it is assumed we can trust such basic things as the rule of law, or the police, or our doctor. Or the church? In our modern world, time and time again we hear of stories of ordinary people who have placed their trust in an institution or a pillar of society and who have subsequently been let down.

One such recent story concerns the family of a policeman who was shot and blinded by a gunman in Northumbria, England, in 2010. Raul Moat, a 37-year-old bouncer from Newcastle, shot his ex-lover, killed her new boyfriend and shot the unarmed policeman before going on the run for a week, eventually shooting himself dead in Rothbury, Northumberland. The victim, PC David Rathband, a father of two, was blinded after being shot twice, as well as being left with considerable and painful injuries to his face and shoulder. He lost his sense of smell and taste, felt sick every day, and lost three stones. In 2012, took his own life. His family filed a case of negligence against the police force of Northumbria. They believed that the force failed to alert Rathband to the severity of the situation, given that Moat had called the force and told them he was “hunting police officers.” Consequently Rathband was shot while he was sitting, unarmed, in his patrol car on his own, at a prominent and busy junction on the main A1 road. But Mr. Justice Males, sitting at the Moot Hall in Newcastle, maintained that the situation was fast-moving and on an unprecedented scale, and warned of the dangers of hindsight. He ruled that the claim had failed and furthermore said the family who are the claimants must pay the force’s legal costs, with an interim payment of £100,000 due within 21 days.

Explore… Genesis 15:1–12, 17–18

  • Share any experiences you may know about or have had when trust has been eroded.
  • How do you feel towards the family of PC Rathband and their situation?
  • How easy or difficult is it for you to accept the notion of trusting everything to God?
  • To what extent do you think the story of Abram may be open to accusations of hindsight?

Prayer links…

When everything seems lost, or everyone seems against us, to whom do we turn? Can we abandon ourselves to the divine? Can we follow Jesus’ example in the wilderness or on the cross? Or do we want everything tidy and managed? Is that what life is really like? Amen.

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