If enemy attack is a yardstick by which you can measure whether or not you’re doing, or have done, something right, then I think it would be fair to say that my move to Welshpool, Powys, is right… I’m not sure there has been another time in my life – certainly not in the (nearly) 41 years of ministry – where the onslaught has been so intense and constant! I came here (after a pretty hard few months in Kent one way or another) early in July. I won’t go over those early in ‘occult and witchcraft central’ cottage in Montgomery as they’ve been blogged, but just these past few weeks – especially this PAST week – have been an onslaught…
While I’m ‘waiting’ for God to open the way for my permanent home, I’ve been staying in a village about 3 miles outside of Welshpool. Much of what I’ve done – and do – ministry-wise has been organised via mobile phone contact, which is a godsend for a travelling minister. I checked out online before I came here what the mobile coverage was like on O2 (I wish to high heaven I’d not switched to them 17 months ago after 22 years with another service provider!) and their site says ‘good coverage outdoors and indoors’. If you want a word of advice, are moving, and need your mobile phone, DON’T believe the lies they put on their sites! Since coming to Wales I’ve had NO signal in either of the two places I’ve resided in for 4 months – I have to drive 6 miles round trip to get a signal on O2!! No one can call me, and I can’t call out! It partly explains why invitations have decreased!
My own home is now a truly desperate need, as ‘begging’ the hospitality of friends is not easy, and I know realistically that another few weeks and I’ll need to move on: to where, God only knows if it’s not to my permanent home. When I came back from the States in 2009, I had many months in different homes, and it burned me out – I was 10 years younger then, and I’m not sure physically or mentally I could do that again. If you could pray that wherever the hold up is – where the enemy has his foot on the provision – that God would release it: I’d be eternally grateful.
Since my ‘occult house’ experience, the old knees haven’t really recovered: it’s been a joy to go to other places and pray for people with what I’ve got (chronic osteoarthritis) and see them healed (no exaggeration – thousands over the years), but I guess I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t ask God, after 25 years and thousands of prayers ‘When is it my turn, Lord?’! I’ve taken every opportunity I have had for ministry and been thrilled with what God has done, but to say I would love more would be understating it.
As I’ve wanted to explore every ‘avenue’ for off-loading what is really excruciating pain every step, as I’m living near one of the best orthopaedic hospitals in the UK, and as I’m registered with a G.P here now, the doctor got me an appointment (amazingly quickly) at Gobowen Hospital, Oswestry. I was a bit reticent as my last visit to an ortho consultant resulted in the total wrecking of my right knee, but Mr Karlakki at Gobowen, was great, he seemed to have all the time in the world (even though the waiting room was jammed) and I got into my appointment 25 minutes early. He’s the first doctor to give me real confidence that he knew the pain of osteoarthritis, and what he was talking about. Seems these days they replace knees in very quick time, with the ‘victim’ conscious throughout (just an epidural to kill off the lower half!) and that recovery is rapid. Maybe 3 months for one knee and I’d be back in harness: 6 months later, the second knee, and three months after that, all hunky-dory…
BUT then… he asked about medical history 🙁 – and I told him that 5 years ago I was hospitalised for 4 days with a major pulmonary embolism and that my family has a history of blood clotting (killed my dad in ’65) – DVT, embolisms, strokes…. and that changed his enthusiasm that he could help me – and my enthusiasm that he might – by telling me that I stood a 50-50 chance of dying in surgery, or – nearly as bad – a bleed into the prosthetic knee which would be disastrous: if I wanted to take the risk, it would be a 6-9 month recovery time with at least three months on rat poison – sorry, warfarin – no flying for trips abroad – the same 6 month gap, and then another 6-9 months recovery time. So in all, 2 years… and that long out of circulation would pretty much guarantee that – having been ‘forgotten’ for ministry opportunities after LAST year, I’d be well off the radar…
Death doesn’t seem a healthy option to me, nor blood-filled knees that mean I won’t be able to walk, so I guess I’m back where I’ve been for years in trusting God to heal my knees, it’s the only option left to me, having now concluded the surgery option! I have absolutely no plans to retire – I couldn’t even if I wanted to! – and so as age increases, I really DO need God to heal me!
In these recent weeks, for totally understandable reasons, I’ve lost two regular supporters who have had a huge change in their own circumstances – about 15% of my ‘known’ monthly income, so that’s hit me like a runaway train… I’m so grateful for those friends for their loving and sacrificial support, so I’m not ‘griping’ – just asking God what’s next!
And the last thing- the biggest sledgehammer of all – a very close personal family discovery that I won’t go into here, for obvious reasons – suffice to say that since finding out on Monday, it’s pretty much wrecked me emotionally. I’d value your prayers, even in the absence of being able to write the reason here… Some of you know my family situation, and I will write a ‘confidential’ newsletter with some further information.
Under pressure – on other fronts too – you might know the rock song by the band. Queen (much edited!):
Pressure pushing down on me
Pressing down on you, no man ask for
Under pressure that burns a building down
Splits a family in two
Puts people on the streets
Pray tomorrow gets me higher
Pressure on people, people on the streets
‘Cause love’s such an old fashioned word
And love dares you to care for
The people on the edge of the night
And love (people on streets) dares you to change our way of
Caring about ourselves
I’ll never be able to not love and care for people, it’s second nature to me. And I need and love to be loved in return. God’s on our side, but when pressure gets intense, it sometimes seems that he goes quiet…!! Thankfully he doesn’t seem to go quiet when I’m praying for other people, though there are times when I feel a right hypocrite going to pray for people, limping, with a walking stick! Wounded healer…?