I have left the prison as chaplain. As things started to gain momentum in Gillingham I was becoming increasingly aware that I felt ‘out of place’ at the prison I was in. I don’t think this was a fault of anyone, or anything, but rather my feelings of being misplaced was simply God’s way of telling me that it was time to devote more time to the stuff I am called to do in Gillingham. The prison was taking me out of Gillingham twice a week, and did not really connect with any of the other stuff I was doing.
So … did I hear God wrong for this ministry? I have never stayed at a place for such a short space of time. Was I wrong? Or am I now being disobedient and should I have stayed? I don’t think I heard God wrong. I believe this was the right thing to do for 8 months, but now it is the right time to move. I don’t know why, or rather I did not know at the time, why I should be moving.
This week, I started a day a week chaplaincy at a local secondary school. It felt so right being in that school this week. If I felt ‘out of place’ in the prison, the exact opposite was my experience in the school. I felt so ‘in place’ it was unreal, backed up by the reaction of people towards me. I consider myself to be there as a servant and I was immediately able to serve people by listening and being a support. The day rushed by and I felt a groan rush up inside me as the bell for the end of the day sounded.
I believe God has led me to this place. I feel more connected in this place, and this role leaves me in the centre of Gillingham which is where I feel I am called to be at this point in time.
In reality none of this makes sense. It does not look good on a CV to leave somewhere after a few months. It does not make sense to leave a place that is paying you well. But … I follow a God who does not always make sense … I follow a God who spoke from a burning bush …. I follow a God who gave a donkey the ability to speak … I follow a God who left the amazingness of heaven to be born in the crap and dirt of stable … I follow a God who died to conquer death … I follow a God of mystery …. why should I expect things to always make sense?