Friday, September 23, 2016

Some Action at Last!

We are so grateful for the praying and caring of so many dear friends and supporters. Many of you have been aware that I have been waiting for a long time now to hear about a treatment plan that involves a very major operation including an element of transplantation. We have been to Newcastle three times in the last year and most recently went for scans and tests. Anyway, we had a really helpful conversation today with the Professor who leads the team and he is really hopeful they will be able to operate before Christmas.  I know we have been at that point before when we actually came within a fortnight of an op-date, 23rd June, when it was cancelled because of concerns about safety in the light of how very ill I had been over Easter etc. This time, the delay is because there are question marks over whether my liver will be well enough to sustain the Islets of Langerhan (that control insulin) once they have been recovered from the removed pancreas, as they plan to transplant them into the liver.

So, we have to go back to Newcastle once again quite soon for liver tests (Diane always comes with me as I don't think I would make the trip without her help, and I certainly could not face anything traumatic without her at my side). Sincere thanks to those of you who have helped us on all these trips in all kinds of ways, not least of all, prayer and intercession.  We are still holding on to our promise text from 1 Peter 5:10 "After you have suffered a little while our God, who is full of kindness through Christ.. will personally come and pick you up.. and make you stronger than ever". We feel that is what God has said to us and it is the basis of our confidence, because the promises of God are "Yes" and "Amen" to those who trust him. I know that may appear naive to some, but it has sustained us through some very low times as I set out in my first book "Braving the Storm" which is still available from me or Amazon if you have not read it yet.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

When Waiting is the Hardest thing to do.

Just about everything in the old prophet's life had let him down. 'Habakkuk' is a tough name to be landed with anyway (imagine how that would have gone down when you were at school!) but the passing of the years had not been kind to him. Surveying all his assets one morning and recognising the reality of his loss, he penned words that have given generations to follow a language to express their pain, their determination and hope.

 He wrote: "Though the fig-tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Saviour." (Hab. 3:17-18)

Habakkuk was a man waiting for better days - which he knew were coming because of the promises God had made him - but in this 'in-between time' he knew that he had to keep his spirit clear of resentment and find rest for his soul. Bitterness due to his loss would only be like eating his own skeleton and would leave him a shapeless jelly, unable to make good decisions or to cope with the pressure of the day. So he wandered up to the high place where he had created a space to stand before God and he cried - not in anger or regret, but in worship and surrender.

It's a funny day for me today. I am still waiting for the surgical team in Newcastle to make a decision as to whether they can help me or whether the massive surgery might be too dangerous for me.  All we seem to do these days is wait! But in the waiting I was so encouraged to read these verses in today's page in the reading notes Encounter by Scripture Union where Alison Lo looks at these very verses in Habakkuk and sums them up so brilliantly. "Amid the raging storm, the prophet has grown from restless doubt to deathless faith; from protesting anger to quiet contentment".

Lord - grant me that attitude today, that grace to sustain me in waiting, and that calm assurance in knowing, in the midst of the barrenness, that You are silently planning for me in love. Amen