But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. (Acts 6:4)
I am deeply grateful for the recent opportunity to spend a week in a friend’s house in Pollenca, in north east Majorca. I asked some friends to pray along the lines of the old advertisement for Mars Bars: that I would know when to work, rest and pray. The Lord really did answer that, beautifully!
The Lord was delightfully at work each day, despite torrential storms for the first few of them. The split second I arrived in Pollenca, the heavens opened with a force I have never experienced before, obliging me to huddle beneath the bus-stand as ankle-deep water swept along the pavement. Just minutes later all approach roads into the town were cut off, and I would have been stuck. These rains, however, were just a ‘PS’ to the cataclysmic outpouring that swept many cars and people straight out to sea just a few days before. This short You tube gives a small flavour of the unprecedented destruction that afflicted the east coast of Majorca.
So much in Spain’s past has been buried, from the atrocities of the Inquisition and its highly public burnings, (the auto da fés) to the largely unaddressed legacy of the Civil War that so cruelly afflicted the nation and its islands. It was from Puerto Pollenca, just down the road from where I was staying, that the planes took off for their infamous raids on defenceless Barcelona.
One couldn’t help wondering: How must it have felt to be a pilot bombing their local capital? And what did the people of Barcelona feel about the pilots who dispensed death from the skies?
The Lord knows how these atrocities have impacted on the spiritual soul of the Spanish people. Despite the seeming calm and sweetness of the place, the stain of these unprovoked massacres has seeped deep down, leaving a very deep wound in the Spanish psyche. May the Lord Jesus cleanse, redeem and heal the unseen residues of this bitter past, and the still deep tensions over the matter of Catalonian independence. Speak life and truth to Spain, Catalonia and the islands, Lord Jesus, and raise up those who will own Your name in Spain, Catalonia and the Balearic Islands!
I had no car this time, so confined my explorations to what I could do within my sun-fuelled walking range. After a simple climb up the 365 Calvary steps, it was up to the Monastery which sits astride a high hill (at 336 metres, let’s call it a mountain!) directly overlooking the beautiful town of Pollenca, which Sister Flor and another sister founded way back in the late 14th century.
To my great satisfaction, I managed the long haul up the steep zigzag trails to the Puig de Santuari, where there is both a chapel and a surprisingly cheap restaurant, given that all ingredients have to be brought up by motor bike. My sense of achievement was very great!
I also loved following a footpath that led straight from my front door into the Val de Colonya: a really glorious mountain walk that may not have quite exceeded the 1000 foot mark but which felt really up high. What riches God has placed in Europe! My prayer continues as it has been for some years now: Lord raise up prophetic voices to make You known in secular Spain and Catalonia, and on these Balearic Islands. See our former sendout.
The only downside to an otherwise perfect week were over a dozen mosquito bites. The pesky attack formations of fleet-winged mozzies came keening in below radar detection levels, taking care to avoid walls and window sills where they would have been sitting targets. Lemon juice and antihistamine creams helped, but a pill when I got back to Malvern brought the best relief!
In his delightful poem, ‘To Autumn,’ Keats speaks of ‘small gnats mourning in a wailful choir’. I must confess that I have yet to detect the specific value of midges and mosquitoes in the grand scheme of things, but fast-response birds doubtless feast on them.
There was one other ‘snare,’ in the sense that I missed a rather important nudge on the last night. Feeling hungry and heading out to a fast food bar, the thought went through my mind, “Are you sure you want to do this?” But I let my hunger determine my reply. The next day, returning home, predictably as the consequence for ignoring the nudge, I had a not very pleasant tummy upset. The Lord was ultra-gracious about the timing and the circumstances but it was an unpleasantness I could have avoided had I heeded the warning.
Ros and I often ‘grade’ our nudges, not out of any sense of infallibility, but just to give each other an idea of how seriously we think we have heard. How would I grade that warning? Not quite an A grade, but quite possibly a straight B. Had I been more alert I should have recognised this seemingly ’impersonal’ warning as being the Lord’s voice and made alternative plans. It was precisely because that would have involved additional inconvenience that I failed to act on the nudge – and suffered as a result.
Lord, make us prompt to recognise the quiet whispers that You send rather than ploughing on regardless with our own plans and intentions!
(We’ll have some more ready soon)