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.
May31FriMay 31, 2013
"O Lord, make me to know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before you.' Psalm 39:4,5 (ESV)
It is generally accepted that there is a certain trickiness involved in doing two things at the same time. Some well-known examples come to mind. Patting your head and rubbing your tummy at the same time. For some people, chewing gum and walking at the same time. For many people, chewing gum and keeping your mouth closed at the same time. A recent addition to the list: listening to your spouse and checking Facebook at the same time.
The particular trickiness I am working on these days is perhaps an example less generally accepted, which if true is a shame. This trickiness can be compared to running hard and standing still at the same time. As for running hard, I have recently been drawn into a fight. A fight for my life. To begin, this fight involves six weeks of radiation treatment and chemotherapy, beginning next Thursday, June 6 (which is the anniversary of D-Day, by the way.) It is obvious to me that this fight must also involve faith: faith in God; faith that God will strengthen me and help me, and heal me. Things have been made pretty clear. Without God's help, this is a fight I am not likely to win. So I am working on being like young David of Israel, with one sling and five stones in hand, running hard towards a deadly giant in the name of the Lord. This is the first thing.
The second thing is standing still, by which I mean quietly accepting the reality of my own mortality and the plain fact that I, like everyone I have ever met, will die someday --- and maybe sooner than later. Having had the privilege of pastoring a church for lots of years, I never would have been able to escape this truth. But I don't think I have ever been tempted to. For just as many years as I have been a pastor, I have been held in the grip of a number of writers, mostly pastors, that I have always referred to as "My Five (or Nine) (or Seven) Dead Men" (I change my mind from time to time about who belongs on the list). "My Five [or whatever] Dead Men" were individuals and they wouldn't have agreed with each other on certain fine points of theology, but they do have a number of things in common, one of the most notable being that they ARE all dead. This, I am sure, has always been helpful to me --- and is helpful to me now. I mean, now that I might be about to die.
So this is the trickiness I am working on. These are the two things I am learning to do at the same time: to brace myself to run hard toward my enemy, wholeheartedly fighting for my life and trusting God and praying with all my heart for strength and health and healing and a long life, while at the same time, quietly and peacefully accepting the reality that this might in fact be the beginning of the end of my life (as we know it), just as God has always intended it to be.
Deb and I continue to appreciate and thank God for all of you who are praying for us and joining us in trusting God to see me through the battle that begins on this coming D-Day. "We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender…"
But at the same time, I humbly invite you to join me in accepting the truth that I always WAS going to die some time, and with it the fact that that time might be some time in the months ahead. "Come now you who say,`Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a city and spend a year there and trade and make a profit' --- yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this and that." James 4:13,14 (ESV)