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.
Jan25SatJanuary 25, 2014
After another meeting with the oncologist this past Thursday, and after completing my second regimen of chemotherapy [of the twelve week sort], I have a new Time Line -- sketchy though it may be -- comprised [following a February Rest Period] of one or two liver surgeries (but we try to remember to call them "Liver Resections"), tentatively set for the first and/or the last Wednesday(s) of March, (which if anyone is counting will be Thing #4 -- or Things #4-and-5). After that, the sketchy Time Line calls for yet another Rest Period of yet another month or so before the launch of a repeat of yet another "Twelve-week Adventure in Chemotherapy" [Thing #5 or 6].
Deb and I drove home from the meeting with the shared thought that this whole experience is getting to be a Medical Adventure of the Long Sort, or in other words, to quote with all due respect, the American songwriting team of Bobby Scott and Bob Russell who, interestingly enough to a man in my position, both died of cancer while both were in their 50's, but not before writing the hit single that begins: "The road is long with many a winding turn…"
As often has been the case, a question came to mind. Such a worthwhile question, it seemed, that we stopped on our way home (at the Symposium where we were the only customers!] to talk it over, as well as to celebrate the completion of my semi-successful Thing #3.
So there we sat [in a window booth overlooking Richmond Street on a sunny winter afternoon] with a question. Two in fact. Why so long a road? And why so winding? Happily, at this particular marker on this particular road, answers came to mind. Answers having to do with the biblical truths that in some cases the journey is as significant as the destination. And also that sometimes the winding turns are as unexpected as the actual destination is unknown. And then we thought some more, and corrected ourselves to note the cheerful and fascinating truth that, as for this journey's destination, all that is really unknown is the timing.
We who believe in and "walk with" the Lord Jesus Christ, and who believe in the Bible as his holy Word, acknowledge the fact that the destination is a place in front of the "great white throne" from which Christ will judge the people of this world.
Revelation 20:11-13 ESV
"… And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done."
And we believe that all of us whose names are written in the book of life are living "pre-orchestrated" lives specifically designed by God to change us so that we will one day arrive at that destination in one specific and very happy condition.
Romans 8:28,29 ESV
"… we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers."
Adding a metaphor in order to clarify a metaphor, minor alterations will perhaps cause a homeowner some slight inconveniences, but for the magnitude of alteration of personal character that will conform us to the image of the Son of God who is the King of kings and Lord of lords, the person being changed had better prepare for some pretty extensive alterations and some very noticeable interruptions. In other words, a "lot of winding turns," and some of them pretty sharp.
Well, not to worry, we concluded. It's not like we are asked to journey ALONE, and the Lord in his kindness HAS surrounded us with very loving and very supportive relatives and friends, and a simply wonderful church family. And besides that, the Lord asks us (continually) to walk with HIM on the journey. Best yet, he offers to carry us when the long and winding road gets to be too wearying.
Deuteronomy 1:29-31 ESV
‘Do not be in dread or afraid… The Lord your God who goes before you will himself fight for you, just as he did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness, where you have seen how the Lord your God carried you, as a man carries his son, all the way that you went until you came to this place.’
So spoke Moses, a prophet and occasional songwriter. And the handiwork of the much less famous (or legitimate) songwriting team of Bobby Scott, Bob Russell and me (all one-time members of the over-50 Cancer Club) can be added here to reinforce the point [with all appropriate apologies to my two bogus teammates!]
The road is long with many a winding turn.
It leads us to "we know where."
But Christ is strong. Strong enough to carry us.
We're not heavy. He's our brother.