The Still Small Voice

From Ruach to the Rock: The Shetland Saga


Chapter Six, Part Four


From Ruach to The Rock: The Shetland Saga

The names of the two houses that we lived in on Shetland – Ruach and The Rock – represent the twin poles of our spirituality. We are called to move in the power of the Spirit (Ruach), but in a way that is constantly undergirded by the Word of God (The Rock).

Towards the end of 2001, an unexpected opportunity arose for us to consider heading north for a sojourn on Shetland. It was not only an unexpected and dramatic summons, but, as it needed to be, a multi-stranded call.

Our first hint that something radical was about to happen came when a couple came to pray with us. They brought us a prophetic word that our lives had been proceeding in one direction, but that we were about to experience a complete change of course. They also warned that we would need to set our faces like flint for it to come about.

We had no idea what this meant. The Lord had gone to such great lengths to give us our present house and ministry that it had never crossed our minds to think that we might one day leave them behind. When Ros discovered that there was an immediate vacancy on Shetland for the post of Senior Clinical Midwife, however, the peace of the Lord came on us, and she felt led to apply for it.

The Lord impressed on us that this would be a sojourn rather than a permanent move, but it represented such a radical move that we felt the need to set a seemingly impossible fleece. We prayed that if the Lord really was in this change of course, He would provide at least one point of continuity by causing our friend Anna, who looked after our two-year old son, to be willing to move to Shetland too.

On the basis that there is nothing to be gained by building castles in the air, we rang Anna together to see how she would feel about such an idea. There was an audible gasp at the other end of the line. Although she had never breathed a word about this to us, it turned out that she had already received a call to Shetland herself some years previously! She had already paid several visits to the island, and was actively looking for a way to get there.

As I was praying with a friend about what I would do when we got to Shetland, she began to speak in a tongue that I partially understood as a result of having studied ancient Romance languages at university. Amongst other things, the Lord spoke of His help in the venture, and of my writing illuminated manuscripts during the sojourn.

In due time we sent out a huge number of publications that blended words and photographs of the beautiful Shetland Islands. I found the word ‘sojourn’ particularly interesting. Apart from its primary meaning as a ‘stay of unknown duration,’ the Latin dictionary I consulted said that it could also mean a ‘standing still,’ a ‘post,’ a ‘residency,’ and a ‘religious assembly or meeting.’ This versatile word perfectly encapsulated the heart of my calling: to stand before the Lord in prayer, to send out teaching insights, and to organize an international prayer conference.

Other confirmations quickly flooded in. At one of our regular retreats, a friend had a picture of an island attached to the mainland of Shetland by a bridge. As if to highlight how closely linked revelations and action are meant to be, the Lord later went on to guide this man to purchase Ruach, a wonderful modern house for us to have the use of during our sojourn. Ruach, of course, means ‘breath, wind of Spirit’ of God. We renamed our ministry after it.

We loved Shetland, but it took time to adjust to a lifestyle that was as far removed from our previous twenty years of largely itinerant ministry as the north is from the south. Six or seven months after arriving, we heard about a word that had been given back in 1997, when God had spoken specifically during a meeting of Scandinavian intercessors about a strategic conference that would bring Scandinavian and British intercessors together to pray for Europe.

The word specified that the conference was to be held on Shetland. This surprising choice actually makes a good deal of sense if you turn the map of the North Atlantic upside down. It is very clear then that Shetland is the northern gateway to Europe!

Back in 2001 we had organized two national days of prayer in the United Kingdom: Fight for this Nation and Britain and Ireland United in Prayer. We quickly realized that the Lord wanted us to take up the baton, and to bring this conference to birth. Eventually, Fire from the North drew together intercessors from more than twenty-five different islands and nations.

We knew nothing about all this, however, when we sailed north for Shetland in a violent February gale. As is so often the case when following the Lord’s leading, obedience precedes understanding!

One year after moving to Ruach, the Lord surprised us by calling us to purchase our own house. He showed us clearly the one He had in mind: a large modern building called The Rock, that overlooked a stunning voe (fjord). He told both of us the price we should bid for it, but warned that there were other people after the property whom He did not want to acquire it.

Months later, we met the couple concerned. They had been planning to develop it as a New Age Centre. Amazingly, they had bid the same amount for it that we did, minus the small change in our pocket! Once again, the word of the Lord proved true.

Meanwhile, He had not forgotten Ruach. The Lord completed the loop when some dear friends felt called to Shetland, and moved into the house just three weeks after we vacated it – and they are making far more creative use of this beautiful house than we could ever have done.