How many of us, who have lived in Oxford for years, have taken the views from Shotover for granted? For Chris and Clair, this very view was an answer to their prayers, and a sign that God was placing them in Oxford for a reason.

About 25 or so years ago, having visited a great aunt in Malvern Link, my wife Clair and I decided to climb to the top of the Malvern Hills. We were living in Twickenham at the time and whilst we were blessed with plenty of open space and the River Thames close by there were no proper views.

It was a glorious late summer afternoon and the view from the Worcestershire Beacon over the Severn Plain was amazing. As Clair and I took in the view we simply said to the Lord, “Jesus it would be great, if, at some stage in our lives, we could have a view like this – not necessary this one – but one like it.”

Some 10 years or so later we sensed Jesus was opening doors for us to start a new work in Birmingham, and this actual view became part of our favourite walk over the Malvern Hills, only 45 minutes away by car from our house in central Birmingham.

Now, fast-forward to nine months or so ago when, having agreed to buy our house in Headington, we decided to check on a few things on our way back from London to Birmingham. We drove past the property, saw what we needed to see, and on the spur of the moment decided to drive up and look at Shotover. We weren’t planning to get out as time was getting on, and we had to be back in Birmingham, but when we arrived at the car park, we decided to get out for a quick look. Imagine my feelings when I took in the view over Oxfordshire from the top of Shotover Hill.

Jesus had provided the exact view that we had asked for when we were working in Birmingham and now here for us in Headington. He has provided a view within easy walking distance of our home.

However, more than that, we believe Jesus is confirming that this is the home He wants us to have; this is the area He wants us to live in and HBC is the church family He wants us to be a part of. He is a faithful God.

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