The Blog of Pastor Mike Wilkins

In The Long Run

"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, 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

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  • Feb7Fri

    Less liver. More living

    February 7, 2014

    And now it's time for Thing #4, in a series of things that we were told from the outset "all have to go very well." Turns out my surgeon has a somewhat higher view of what was accomplished by Thing #3 than does my oncologist, who you may recall, considered Thing #3 only semi-successful. This last Monday we met with the surgeon to hear whether or not he is willing to take on the "resection," that is, to take out a chunk of my liver. Turns out he is.

    So there. The stage is now set for another gurney ride down the long cold hallway to one of those Operating Rooms into which I keep getting invited. On Wednesday, February 26. "The operation will take from six to eight hours," said the surgeon. "And then we're looking at ten days or so in the hospital, and two or three months for you to recover," he went on. The surgeon's intention is to "resect" about 40% of my liver, which is to say, to remove the cancerous chunk. His hope is that 60% of a liver is plenty to live with. His prediction is that there is a 25% chance that the cancer will NOT grow back. He says that my likelihood of dying during the surgery is 3%. And to all of this I say, simply, "Yikes."

    If someone will observe that the plan seems desperate, I will not object. In the three previous surgeries I've signed on for since December 2011, I have taken the view that "desperate times call for desperate measures."

    If someone will say that the plan sounds "radical," I am happy to point out that the word "radical" is based on the Latin word for "root." And I am happy to have a doctor get to the root of the problem.

    If anyone questions if the plan is biblical, I will say that it can be seen to be so by comparing the battle against cancer to the battle against sin. As the 17th century pastor John Owen has written, “Cease not a day from this work; be killing sin or it will be killing you.”

    Better yet, as Christ our great King has said, "If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell. (Matthew 5:29,30 ESV)

    The thing is, there are times when getting to the root of one of our deep-rooted problems is more doable (and so more likely to be successful) when someone other than the person with the problem is the person holding the scalpel. For me and my problem liver, this is one of those times.