Saturday, June 25, 2011

All Sunshine Makes a Desert!

I suppose we really do need some rain, don't we?  Speaking for us here in the Channel Islands we have been receiving some refreshing downpours in the last couple of weeks, but it will be really good to see the sun again.  Strange, though, how all sunshine makes a desert eh?  You can have too much of a good thing.  When we lived in Africa we longed for the changing seasons of life back home in Guernsey.  We enviously pictured ourselves walking bent before the howling wind on a freezing day in February with an icicle hanging from our noses.  We sat on the beach on Boxing Day and actually missed the cold!!  Crazy or what?

But hey, life needs its seasons too.  Get over it when clouds form.  Is this why the writer of the New Testament letter said 'in all circumstances, rejoice.'?  Maybe.  I have certainly known some dry and thirsty times when going nil-by-mouth for over 7 weeks last year for instance, and I want to thank God for the rain!  Where we live our reservoirs are full, but they would not be for long if we always had the sunshine we crave.

And by the way - talking about the changing seasons of life - it is now 4 months since the neurostimulator was switched on in me and I have not had to go back into hospital once in that period (compared to 10 times last year). Praise God my pain is well under control, and it seems that the pancreatitis has just subsided too.  So I really do welcome this new season whatever the weather!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

When There's Pain in the Offering

Nobody likes pain.  Not me not you not anybody. And no-one wants to be an expert on pain - who would be so silly?  Last Sunday morning I was introduced to an audience as 'Eric is an expert in suffering.  He has not only written books about the subject, but he's been there!'  Well, if you think I want to be known as an expert in suffering and pain you've got another think coming!  I made a joke of it with the gathering - and I think they understood.  It's not long since I started public speaking again.  For a bloke who has a PhD in preaching it's been really tough to be silent.  But it all comes into what the Bible book of Romans calls the 'all things which God makes work together for good' in the lives of those of us who follow Jesus.

So I sat down on a  bar stool and began reading from the Bible book of Job (pronounced Joeb).  As I did I felt a distinct sense of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit all over me.  I still do, because I did something really narcissistic a few minutes ago - I listened to myself speaking on the internet.  Weird eh?  And I'm still crying.  I don't want to be the one who has to share this kind of message - that God allows us to go through dreadful stuff sometimes but remains sovereign - in charge.  I don't find it easy, but I do think it is the one thing that many of us need to hear and to know.  The devil may be banging us about but God isn't resigning.  He's in it for the long haul and I'm grateful.  He's really there when there's pain in the offering!

If you want to, you can listen too.