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.
Jun29FriJune 29, 2012
"In all my life I have met only one person who claims to have seen a ghost. And the interesting thing about the story is that that person disbelieved in the immortal soul before she saw a ghost and still disbelieves after seeing it. She says that what she saw must have been an illusion or a trick of the nerves. And obviously she may be right. Seeing is not believing." With these words, C.S.Lewis begins his book "Miracles". (If you read it, don't miss the quite amazing original poem in the front of the book!)
This week, I remembered that paragraph as I was mulling over my recently declared freedom from the additional surgery that I had been more or less guaranteed would be performed this summer. I really do believe that the cancellation of that surgery is a miracle. For more than one reason. One of the two very skilled surgeons that did the original surgical deed had humbly told me that he wouldn't proceed with the surgery if the tumour turned out to be the firmer "shoe leather" sort; that they just don't do that sort of surgery in the case of that sort of shoe leather. But in my case, and in my head, they did. The other very skilled surgeon humbly explained on another occasion that the instruments they use for that sort of surgery are just not long enough to reach the upper half of the tumour that had grown above my optic nerves. (Questions do come to mind about what it might take to get some longer instruments.) But regardless, when they reached the upper limits of their shortish instruments, the upper half of the tumour just started, and just kept, coming down. I freely admit that I don't really know what I'm talking about here, but I do think that the remainder of the tumour miraculously just wanted to come out. At any rate, the whole great big thing did come out, and so surgically speaking I got the summer off. And I do call it a miracle. And I do thank the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ for it.
But was it a miracle? Since the word is of Latin origin and its original meaning is "object of wonder," the surgery can simply be so declared. It's an object of wonder to me. But is it a miracle in the sense now commonly understood: "an event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency"? No doubt, the crowd is divided on this question. To readers and onlookers on both sides of the dividing line, I hereby take my stand. BOTH to those who are able and willing to agree with me that in some sense the hand of God, so to speak, was guiding the hands, and the brains, of the two outstanding surgeons as they accomplished their amazing feat of medical cleverness AND to those who are unwilling or unable to attribute anything supernatural to what goes on in any given operating room on any given day, I invite you to join me in stepping back a few paces to see how insignificant is the line between the "natural and scientific" and the supernatural and miraculous. What happened in that operating room that the whole crowd can agree on is that two human beings, using human eyes to see what they were seeing on a computer screen and human hands (with opposable thumbs!) to manipulate the only-so-long surgical instruments that they had stuck up my nose and pushed into the centre of my skull, and also human ears to hear what they were saying to each other (using their human powers of speech and language) --- these two surgeons successfully "debulked" a very large macroadenoma that had grown to such an unusual size that it had crammed itself up above my optic nerves.
If anyone suggests to me that everything the two surgeons did that day was natural and scientific, and therefore not a miracle, I won't bother to argue the point. Instead I will reply that in my opinion, the surgeons, being human beings, with their own eyes and hands and ears, not to mention their own pituitary glands, all functioning normally, are themselves "not explicable by natural and scientific laws and therefore" (at least by me), "considered to be the work of divine agency." And I thank God for both of them. And for what God has done for me through them.