I don’t know about you, but often I’m just having a one-way conversation with God – it’s not prayers in the formal sense – “Oh heavenly Father, etc”. It’s more like a chat with a very close friend – that’s probably very irreverent to say, but for me, of course God is super holy, and created the universe and demands our utmost respect, but he’s also our loving Father, who loves us and loves being in relationship with us, so I figure he’d enjoy a one-way monologue coming from me! I say one-way, because I don’t actually hear God’s voice coming back, but I’m sure he’s listening, because every so often he definitely answers me. Like the time I told you about when I was walking down the hill in Meribel asking him what I should be doing here, and the chapel door was open (the chapel door that never ever is open). Maybe I filled in a few blanks, but I thought it was God saying he wanted us to start a church here.
And then there was a Friday in January when I was skiing, minding my own business, but having a chat with God in my head. I was asking God why he doesn’t send people back to us from heaven or hell to tell us what it’s like, so we’d have an added incentive to believe in Him. I know it’s not a new question, and I know there are plenty of theological answers to that question, and I’ve no idea why I was on this train of thought on that day – I hadn’t just read about Lazarus that morning in the Bible – it was just a thought splurge that I was sharing with God. Anyway, true to form, God remained silent in my head, and I forgot all about it, until that very same evening when Ashley and Tony knocked on our door.
Let me rewind 24 hours to the Thursday when I was on the chairlift and my phone rang. Now, it’s never easy getting your mobile out, on a ski lift, with gloves on, and then getting it to your ear under your helmet, without dropping either my phone or my gloves onto the snow below. So I was a tad flustered as I answered. “Is that the Meribel chapel?”, a lady asked on the other end. “Yes” I said, trying to sound as not-on-a-chairlift as possible. Turns out, this lady had seen our publicity from the previous season about a mid-week Wednesday meeting at the chapel. She was upset she’d missed it but could we meet up? I explained she hadn’t missed anything as we weren’t doing that this season but do please join us for dinner at our Friday night fellowship at our place. Great, she said, there’d be three of them. And after giving her directions, we left it that.
Every Friday, we invited any Christians that we knew of in resort, to come to our apartment for supper and chat. Most weeks we had a lovely evening catching up with the chaplains, and a few regulars. Normally there’d be fewer than 10 of us, and we’d fit around the kitchen table. This Friday however, our numbers swelled, and with the 3 visitors, we had to squeeze in an extra table. And what an evening it turned out to be. Ashley and Tony Low and their friend Karen arrived from Singapore/Australia. They were on holiday in Meribel for a week, and had only come across us by God’s providence, because Ashley, who is the type of lady that doesn’t sit still, had slipped on the ice, been confined to the sofa for a day, and so was googling “church in Meribel”. If she hadn’t slipped, she wouldn’t have googled, and we’d never have met them.
There seemed to be so much to talk about and Ashley kept saying: “When we tell you our story…” In the end, we had to sit them down, serve dinner, and just listen. It was one of the most surprising tales I’ve ever heard, and it was all true…