Sunday, June 17, 2007

Fathers' Day Glow

Yesterday I went in search of a Fathers' Day experience, and I got it! I flew to the neighbouring island of Jersey and spent the day with my son Matthew - what a great day it was! I was really delighted to be with him for the few hours that we had together, and no matter that it rained so heavily, we just 'hung out' and enjoyed the time. It was also an opportunity for me to catch up with his new car. The old one had done well for a number of years, including University, and now it was time to ditch it and get something decent. The result is the shiny black Seat that we cruised around the island in. Wow, the smell of new, the purr of power, the pull of the acceleration, and all within the island's 40 miles per hour speed limit of course! 2 litres of horse-power tied down to a fabulous small frame.

Being a Dad is a bit like that ride really. You can't explain how much you care, how deeply you feel. Love and pride are mixed with concern and worry in almost equal measure! All the hopes and fears that you have for your offspring are surging under the bonnet like a powerfully tuned engine, but on the surface you remain as cool and calm as you can, trusting God to look after your most precious posession in all the world. You want to rush on ahead, to accelerate and overtake life's problems before they hit and steer them away from them. But there's a limit. You can't live their life for them. You have to let go, and believe that the heavenly Father loves them even more deeply than you do and will guide them through whatever life may throw at them.

For now I'm just basking in the glow of a really great father/son day and thanking God for the privilege of being a Dad at all. At least I get to ride in some great autos!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Put Shame to Shame

I had a real battle to take medication today. I hate the fact that I need it, but when pain becomes as unbearable as it was this afternoon, I just have to reach for the morphine again. The doctor tells me it's fine to use it. apparently when opiates are taken for severe pain like mine it does not become addictive. I certainly wouldn't want to take it for any other reason - it makes me feel sick anyway! But why do I struggle so much to take the stuff?

Partly, it's because of my sense of shame. I know I shouldn't feel this way but I can't help feeling guilty that a so-called 'charismatic Christian leader' and pastor needs to take morphine. It makes me feel less of a 'man of God' to do so. I remember being really embarrassed once on the hospital ward when I was in agony and needed a shot, and the nurse who brought it to me was a Pentecostal christian and a member of a church where a friend of mine is the Senior Pastor. The pain of my shame stung even more severely than the intra-muscular jab! The need for medical relief makes me feel that I am letting the Lord down. Surely if I really trusted the Lord I wouldn't need opiates?

Then, today, God spoke to me through a Bible verse that Diane shared with me. Romans 8:1 just hammered my shame and made it skulk away. 'There is now, therefore, no condemnation for those in who are in Christ Jesus!' Shame makes us hide from God and others. 'No condemnation' brings us out into the open again. God knows I need pain relief. He created the poppy, that like so many good things such as sex and wine, has been hijacked by evil and used or rather misused to bring people into slavery. But it was created to be our servant, not our master, and there is no shame in that.

I still seek God for my healing every day, as I share in my book Braving the Storm ( but until that healing comes I am going to take the pain relief medication and give thanks to God as I do. Now that should put my shame to shame!