Friday, December 06, 2019

Help for Hanging in There!

They're here! Hooray! At last my own supply of my latest book has arrived. The publisher, 'Instant Apostle' (just add water? 😂) will make them available from the public date February 20th 2020. You can pre-order them for then on Amazon by clicking here or if you would like one right away, in time for Christmas, then email me at throughthestorms750@gmail.com. I can send it you with bank details or you can pay by PayPal. The books are £8.99 plus £1.75 p+p.

So many folk have been really encouraging me over this book during the two and a half years I have been writing it, and I am grateful. Thanks too for all your prayers and help over the 22 years of my battle with appalling pain and critical, life-threatening illness. My prayer is that this book will give sufferers of long-term 'storms' of all kinds, hope and encouragement too.

I wrote this book for people of all faiths and of none, although it would be impossible to tell my story without giving glory and credit to Jesus. I have been described recently as 'a walking miracle' and if that is the case, it did not come cheaply or easily. I feel immense compassion for folk in chronic pain and who face the dreadful aftermath of trauma. God has been good to me, and I hope this book will help you 'hang in there' a little longer, looking for light at the end of your tunnel too.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Through the Storms; a manual for when life hurts

Described as possibly the most painful condition known to humankind, chronic and recurring pancreatitis not only nearly killed me, it seriously messed with my life. Admitted to teaching hospitals over 100 times, enduring over 30 surgeries, I spent 22 years on what one specialist professor described as 'industrial doses of opiates' (morphine, even at times the medical form of heroine, Fentanyl, and Ketamine etc) yet pain was unremitting. Of course I wanted to end it all. I cried like the psalmist 'How long, O Lord?'. Surrounded by praying friends and supported amazingly by my wonderful wife and family, I simply could not understand how I got through each day. But I did by the grace of God, and now my story needs to be told.



My new book 'Through the Storms; a manual for when life hurts' should be out in time for you to have one before Christmas, or to give it to a friend or loved one. It offers hope, encouragement and practical wisdom to people of all faiths or of none who may be passing through life storms of one kind or another. It tells of my near-death encounters and looks honestly at my struggles, but it also gives positive suggestions to help with pain, disappointment, loneliness, bereavement, PTSD and a host of other 'storm conditions'.

Some people call me a walking miracle today. I am so grateful to God and to my transplant team in Newcastle for this amazing new start. But being cured is not when healing ends - it is sometimes just when it is beginning - and I am still learning lessons as I reflect on this two-decade long ordeal. I want to share those lessons with you.

If you live in Guernsey you can have a copy for £8.99 post free by emailing me at throughthestorms750@gmail.com. You can use the PayPal link below to pay or ask in the email for further payment options. In the UK and Jersey I will send you a copy for £8.99 plus £1.75 p&p which totals £10.74. Higher quantities and discounts for churches can be arranged through the email please.

You can also pre-order order copies via Amazon for when it is officially published in February 2020 and becomes available on Kindle etc.

Click here to send me your secure payment via PayPal

Here are some kind comments about this book:

from Rev Lyndon Bowring, Chairman of CARE
 ‘I’ve known Eric for more than forty years and marvelled at his faith and determination not to let his condition get the better of him. He is a living tribute to the grace and mercy of God. If your situation looks hopeless, you’re caring for someone in great need or you fear for your own future health, this book will be an incredible inspiration and comfort to you.’ 

from Jonathan Le Tocq, Minister for External Affairs, States of Guernsey, and church leader
‘Few people desire to show their scars to the world, especially those that come along with pain, humiliation and vulnerability. Even then, few are able to articulate effectively the experiences that brought about those scars. Eric is one of the few who can. In a world crying out for authenticity he takes us on his life’s journey, along the way equipping us all to understand better the pain, frustrations and unanswered questions of those who suffer.’ 

from Rev Dr Clive Burnard, Regional Minister, Yorkshire Baptist Association
‘I cannot commend this book highly enough. Not only is it honest about the profound challenges faced personally by the author, but readers will also find both wonderful encouragement and practical help. 

from Dr Richard Seymour, retired GP 
‘If ever there was a man to help those in chronic pain, it is Eric. He’s been there, lived with it for more than twenty years and now has been mercifully released.’ 




Saturday, November 09, 2019

Flood chaos points to a climate crisis!

It's pouring outside! October 2019 has officially been described in Guernsey as the wettest since 1960 - that's 59 years! And still it rains. All over UK counties like Yorkshire and Derbyshire there are flood warnings this weekend. Rivers are breaking their banks, homes are being flooded. At least one person has drowned.
It seems certain that climate change is behind all this. I have friends who would disagree, but the pattern of global weather does seem to be changing. The contrasting news of wildfires in places as far apart as Australia and the Amazon would seem to bolster this. These are certainly climactic times we live in!

It feels as if the world is groaning under the weight of human action and inaction. Climate emergency has become the buzz phrase and it has almost become the latest 'unacceptable intolerance' to question the actions of those who protest that it must trump (!) all other concerns. Maybe the real issue is not so much about what governments do though, important as that might be, but really about what individuals do.

The Bible observes that, 'For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time' (Romans 8:22). We hear that groaning even more clearly as the rain pounds our hemisphere and the dry undergrowth rages in another. Is this what Jesus called one of 'the signs of the end?' Does our planet have a 'use by' date? It is important to do what we can to reduce, recycle and re-use, but to stick with the alliteration, ought we not also to repent?

Saturday, November 02, 2019

Through the Storms: pounded by wind and waves!

We are in the grip of a powerful storm today. I got up this morning to find tables and heavy chairs strewn around the garden as if they had been tossed away by a petulant child. Bins were on the flower beds and large plant pots had been tipped over. We live near Guernsey's west coast and crowds of people were gathered there this morning for the high tide to take photos of the angry sea. Spume and spray were soaring over the highest rocks, and angry waves crashing onto the sea walls.

We are no strangers to stormy conditions in these islands, exposed as we are to the swells of the Atlantic Ocean. They are part of our lives as much as the much loved long sunny days of the recent summer. All sunshine makes a desert, of course, and we know that these dark days are part of the cycle of life that should be enjoyed (!) and not just endured. But that's tough, isn't it? We welcome the calm sunshine and even bright cold, but grey, stormy weather can be both intimidating and depressing.

Storms have also marked our personal lives. The first two volumes of my 'storm' trilogy, Braving the Storm and Storm Force, told of my long battle with the howling winds and life-threatening episodes of serious ill health. In February 2020 the third book will be published - Through the Storms: a manual for when life hurts. You can email me at ericgaudion@me.com to pre-order now, or click on the links to go to Amazon to do so. Diane and I have proved that you can survive the storms without being permanently knocked off course and without going under for the third time!

As the wind rages around me outside this study, I thank God for his faithfulness and presence even in the middle of the storms of life. Jesus once slept in a boat that was being threatened with being overwhelmed by a storm, and his disciples were terrified. Just his amazing presence was enough, though, to guarantee their survival. When he was finished with the storm, like a man calling his dog to heel, Jesus stood up and said: 'Peace! Be Still' and it was over. No wonder the fishermen with him asked each other 'what kind of person is this that even the storm obeys him?'

Saturday, October 12, 2019

In the Tunnel of Hope

EU and UK negotiators are rumoured to be engaging in negotiations that are being described as 'entering the tunnel'. This is supposed to reflect the urgency of the hour as a possible date for Brexit approaches. It also speaks of the secrecy and intensity of the talks as leaks and media speculation may spoil or threaten what could be a dicey and difficult deal in any case. 'Down to the wire' diplomacy is being conducted in the tunnel! The people of 28 nations await the outcome.

Our island is marked with many tunnels, some dating back to English troop movements during the Napoleonic wars with France, and some to seventy years or more since the German occupation. All of them serve as useful reminders of what European disunity can cause. A beautiful and peaceful place is undermined by the concrete left by Europeans who fought each other virtually to a stand-still, twice in the last century and even more so before that. Millions of graves across the continent of Europe also cry out to the tunnellers to get it right. The future of a nation's children is being dug in the Brussels' tunnel and now is the time to pray for their success.

Whatever the outcome, and wherever you stand on Brexit, let's call on God for the tunnellers to have wisdom, patience, creativity and boldness this weekend. Then, maybe, the tunnel itself can become a symbol of hope instead of a memorial to past enmity.

Saturday, October 05, 2019

Who do you Think you are?

One of the most popular series on BBC television is 'Who do you Think you are?' in which celebrities search for their ancestors. That's one particular cupboard I don't think I should go rummaging about in, not because I think there might be anything to be ashamed of, but just because that does not make me who I am today. I am not just the product of generations of people who 'begat' me. God says that I have been 'fearfully and wonderfully made', (Psalm 139) and that he had a special plan for me when I was conceived. There are no 'accidents' in God's family - each one of us was planned!

The important thing is not so much where we came from - but where we are going. I listened to an amazing edition of Desert Island Discs on BBC Radio 4 this week with the guest Sabrina Cohen-Hatton who is one of the most senior Chief Fire Officers in England. In her teens she was homeless and begging on the streets. Now she leads thousands of men and women and has a PhD! We should never be bound by the past if we follow the God who says 'I make everything new' (I have no idea of Sabrina's faith stand but her example is inspiring).

This week (Sunday 6th October 2019) we are beginning a new series of talks at Vazon Elim Church on the subject 'The New Me'. At 10.45 I will speak on 'Who am I?' and at 6pm Matt Gregor will preach on Psalm 139. This should be a great series and you would be most welcome to come if you are in Guernsey, or to tune in online. You can watch the 10.45am service at www.vazonelim.org.gg or search YouTube for 'Vazon Church'.

It should be 'cracking good!'

Friday, September 27, 2019

The weaponising of words

It is a good thing that the green benches in the House of Commons are spaced exactly two sword lengths apart! This was done deliberately to prevent duelling 'gentlemen' from doing any actual harm to one another. This week, however, there have been shocking scenes of angry confrontation. Words and terminology have been drawn from their scabbards in verbal combat such as has not been seen in decades. And both sides of the Brexit debate seem determined to use such words to curry favour with the electorate. On one side harsh and inflammatory terms are being bandied about to portray the opposition MP's in the worst light possible. On the other, plaintiff cries of outrage appear occasionally to be part of an effort to convince the populace that their opponents are 'unfit to govern'. What a sad indictment of our democracy that the so-called 'mother of parliaments' has come down to this.

It does not reflect a limited vocabulary on the part of the speaker - quite the opposite in the case of Britain's present Prime Minister. But it does reveal that both sides need to draw back and reconsider their weaponising of language, before someone does really get hurt.

I would like to let some light in onto this shady use of language. Consider this biblical advice:
'A wise man’s heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction. Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.' (Proverbs 16:23-24)

And to leaders in particular: '...excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love' (2 Cor. 8:7) and 'set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.'(1 Tim 4:12). And 'your words [should be] solid and sane. Then anyone who is dead set against us, when he finds nothing weird or misguided, might eventually come around.' (Titus 2:8 The Message).

In every situation of conflict and misunderstanding the practical advice of the scriptures speaks clearly to us all:  'A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.' (Proverbs 15:1)