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.
Jan3FriJanuary 3, 2014
I have now made it 2/3's of the way through this 12-week chemotherapy regimen that I call Thing #3. It's going very well, it seems, as did Thing #1 and Thing #2. That is, the many possible side-effects I have been warned about have for the most part failed to materialize, and I continue to feel and (weirdly look) quite healthy. When asked, I say that, by the kindness of the Lord, everything seems to be going very well. The key word is "seems."
Yesterday, I had another CT-scan. It was scheduled exactly one week before I meet with my friendly neighbourhood oncologist to hear what the scan has revealed, specifically what it reveals about the eleven cancerous lesions living for a time in my liver. For exactly seven days then, seven including this one, I live and move and have my being in a cloud: a cloud of not knowing what exactly is going on inside me. Having by now become a Wily Veteran of London's various CT-scan facilities, I've walked in this exact cloud before, and I don't like it at all. What I don't like exactly is not knowing what a number of people here in London DO know about me and my liver, despite the fact that everyone of them is less attached to my liver than I am.
On a related note, The Cloude of Unknowyng is an anonymous work of Christian mysticism written in the second half of the 14th century (hence the strange spelling.) Evidently, it's a spiritual guide to contemplative prayer which proposes that the only way to truly know God is to abandon all preconceived notions and beliefs or knowledge about him and to be courageous enough to surrender mind and ego to the realm of unknowingness, at which point, the unknown author assures us, we begin to glimpse the true nature of God. So says Wikipedia. And that's all I know about that particular classic piece of Christian literature other than what is stated in the brief excerpt included in the Wikipedia article:
"For he can well be loved, but he cannot be thought. By love he can be grasped and held, but by thought, neither grasped nor held. And therefore, though it may be good at times to think specifically of the kindness and excellence of God, and though this may be a light and a part of contemplation, all the same, in the work of contemplation itself, it must be cast down and covered with a cloud of forgetting."
This brief description and short quotation may be too little to judge by and it might be quite unfair of me to do so anyway, but nevertheless I AM putting myself down as Not Interested in further spiritual direction from this unknown spiritual guide. It's specifically what I DO know about God that keeps the peace of Christ ruling in my heart. And it is specifically thinking about God that strengthens my heart and mind regarding what I am unable to see and know while my head remains in this cloud.
What I do know is that the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. And that his mercies endure forever. And that according to the riches of his grace, God works all things according to the counsel of his will. and his people have been born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and have been granted an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven by God's power as we are guarded through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed at the last time. These things I do know.
The truth is, we all walk through life, one week at a time, with our heads in a cloud of unknowing. No one knows very much at all about what's really going on according to the plan of God. We all live in some state of fog about what adventures are still awaiting us and about how those adventures will make us feel and about how long it will be until we stop having adventures and stand before our Creator and Judge to give him an account of ourselves. But it's what we CAN know about the nature of God that can keep our hearts and minds at peace, with that peace that surpasses all understanding. And it is as we keep thinking about God -- about what he has done for us and what he is doing for us and what he has promised us -- that we are loving him with heart and soul and strength and mind, just as our Lord Jesus Christ has commanded us.