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.
Sep6FriSeptember 6, 2013
Two weeks from today, I will once again be the Special Guest at a meeting to be held in my honour in one of University Hospital's Operating Rooms. This will be my third surgery (Lifetime), with the great likelihood of two more surgeries to follow in the months to come.
This one being fourteen days from today, the words of England's 18th-century "Man of Letters" Samuel Johnson come to mind. "Depend upon it, Sir," he once said, "when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully." Although I've never been threatened with hanging, I AM finding that the same principle applies to gut-wrenching-surgery-deemed-necessary-because-of-a-serious-case-of-cancer. These days, I'm finding that my mind is being wonderfully concentrated, and that the advantage has everything to do with becoming ready for the inevitable.
It's just what Hamlet said, as he was trying to decide whether to be or not to be: "If it be now, ’tis not to come. If it be not to come, it will be now. If it be not now, yet it will come. The readiness is all." (Hamlet, Act V, Scene 2.) While I don't suppose that Shakespeare's Hamlet should be anyone's final authority on these matters of life and death, even if "the readiness" is NOT all, nevertheless attaining (and maintaining) such a genuine state of readiness IS a goal with a lot going for it.
The thing is, cancer patients aren't the only ones who are mortal. Dying may never be something a person looks forward to, but there is a perfectly good reason for every one of us to look ahead to it. "It is appointed for man to die once…"
These days, I'm working on staying clear on the sobering fact that if I DO manage, by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, to beat the odds, so that, in September 2018 (that is, five years from now), I am declared "Cancer-Free," I'll still be a guy who is going to die someday. "If it be not now, yet it will come." And of course, sometime, anytime, before my cancer gets around to doing to me what it is all set up to do, I could get run over by a cement truck or struck by lightning.
The writer of the Old Testament's Book of Ecclesiastes stated it plainly. "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die… " (3:1,2 ESV). Day to day, one of the distinct advantages of this sort of readiness is the capacity to see every day, every hour, in fact every moment of every day, as a specific gift of God: one gift in a finite set of such gifts -- and so one not to be wasted. It seems to me that it really does help to be very clear about the fact that one day, one such moment will be the last one I get. And having no real clue about the exact date and time is no good excuse for putting the whole matter out of our minds.
So let us take a tip from Samuel Johnson, and concentrate. Wonderfully.