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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  • Aug4Tue

    While I could

    August 4, 2015

    Now that it’s August and I am officially “out of the pulpit,” I am feeling very grateful to God for providing the church that I love with such a competent and suitable preacher to take “my” place,” and so appreciative of Pastor Jude St.John for accepting the Elders’ invitation to do so.

    And besides grateful and appreciative, how am I feeling? (Just thought you might be wondering.) I’m feeling lots of things, of course, but I am glad to say that high on this list of feelings is “glad.” I mean, now that I am not able to be the church’s preacher, I am feeling glad that I was while I could.

    There’s a lesson in this, as I suspect you assume there would be. It’s a lesson I have had the opportunity to practice over these last three years as I have learned to adjust to being unable to do the things that for so long I have loved doing.

    Example #1.
    Three times in a row, I have recovered from surgery by first walking and then cycling and then running, with actually running as the goal of my physical recovery. Now that I am for the third year in a row once again back to it, I must admit to myself that I’m not actually running the way I have actually loved to: that is, morning after morning, putting in the miles required, week after week, month after month, to run respectably a long-distance race --and almost certainly never again will. When I said to myself in 2007, “No more marathons for me,” I didn’t mind a bit, but at the time I didn’t mean to give up all long-distance racing. Now that I am forced to do so, my consolation is that, for a long time — for four consecutive years beginning in 1979 — and then for 10 more years beginning in 1997 — while I could, I did.

    Example #2.
    Although earlier this year, I had a very good hope of a “Summer of 2015" canoe trip and managed to secure a very good reservation in Killarney Provincial Park (No small thing!), later this year I was forced to admit that my badly beaten-up body really wasn’t going to be up to it. When I (sadly) cancelled that very good reservation, I consoled myself by saying again, “Well, while I could, I did.” From 1992, when my son Ben had at last turned eight years old, to 2012, when Deb and I took what turned out to be our last canoe trip (of eighteen), I did, while I could.

    In these ways and in some others, my experience has continued to strengthen my convictions that this principle is of great value, and that practicing this principle on lesser things, such as running and canoe-tripping, has been a great help in applying it to more important things, such as fulfilling the work that God called and equipped me to do.

    Dozens and dozens of canoe trips. More than a dozen marathons. Hundreds and hundreds of sermons. I did what I could, while I could. That’s a lot to be glad about.