The Blog of Pastor Mike Wilkins
"The long run" referred to in the title of this blog is, in the first place, the many years Mike Wilkins served as West London's solo pastor, and then its Senior Pastor, since he and his wife Deb moved to London (and this church) in 1984.
In these past few years (beginning November 2011,) Mike's various health challenges, particularly a serious and ongoing case of cancer, has added another layer to the "long run" metaphor, and lots to blog about. Mike is currently on an extended Sick Leave, but generally worships with the church family on Sunday mornings.
With the publication of a book he wrote in 2016 entitled "Glory in the Face" (now available electronically and in paperback from Amazon.ca, and other online venders), Mike has just launched a new website, which will serve as a sort of scrapbook for readers of the book, with relevant background photos, for example, of That Last Final Solo Canoe Trip in May, 2011, as well as additional information about the book, and--coming soon--a new set of blog posts, mostly about the peace of God and the joy of the Lord and the face of Christ and the strength to face anything. You'll find the new website now at www.gloryintheface.com.
Feb13MonFebruary 13, 2012
The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." As the time of my convalescence comes to an end, I remember my previous personal experience of a similar sort. I was 16 years old and about to have the plaster of paris cast finally removed from my right leg, which I had broken quite badly (or quite well, depending on your point of view). For about 12 weeks, I had endured the profound inconvenience of walking with crutches. And then the cast was off and I began to experience once again the extreme delights which I had never learned to think of as delights until I had (temporarily) lost them. Delights such as walking with my hands free for the purpose of holding things: things such as my text books and my lunch bag. For almost three months of Grade 12 life, I had by necessity carried my books in a knapsack (which at that point in the history of HIgh School was NOT a cool thing to do) and I had carried my brown paper lunch bag between my teeth, at the very real risk of dropping the component parts of my lunch all over the hallway as the paper bag was soaked by my saliva to the point of tearing.
But then the experience was over. And oh, the freedom! What a thrill to walk around with my hands free. It was a thrill that took a long time to get over. Even now as I remember the summer of 1971, it all comes back to me. Really! For I have learned a lesson for a life-time. I have learned that it is a great great thing to be able to walk around using only your legs. I learned it by losing my ability to do so. For 12 weeks.
And now, in the winter of 2012, after two months of lying around recovering from surgery and suffering the ravages of my pathetically sedentary lifestyle, I am in the act of incrementally reentering what I think of as normal life. I am once again beginning to do the sorts of things that I used to do: things such as going to church on Sunday (It's a big big deal in some of the circles I frequent). And standing around afterwards. And talking to people that matter to me. And getting caught up on their news. And (Watch for it!) standing up in front of all of them and preaching a sermon or two.
I note that in my previous blog entry, written on Christmas Day, at home, in between surgeries, I stated that I was looking forward to getting back to preaching. It seems quaint to me now. I had been away for two consecutive Sundays and I was really missing it! I now notice that I am looking forward to the experience of being back much much much more intensely, for now it's been ten weeks.
I'm not seriously comparing myself to Job or my suffering to his (although my medical adventures did include some measure of pain and suffering). I'm just trying to follow Job's example. He said, "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." How much more should I bless (and not curse) the name of the Lord as I receive back the things that have been, for a short while, taken away?
And the things that have been kept away? (My driver's license, for instance.) I bow to Job's superior faith and wisdom and, following his example, I still say: "Blessed be the name of the Lord." But I don't mind at all if someone else, Yogi Berra-like, chooses to add: "It ain't over`til it's over.'