Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Four Weeks Ago

“There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.” (Proverbs 6:16-19)

I read through the list. The question in the Bible study I was doing asked “Are you guilty of any of these things in your life?” My blithe reply was a confident “No.”

The “Hmmm,” from God came swiftly. “You have a lying tongue.”

Once upon a time, perhaps, I stretched the truth. I felt the need to jazz up the boring life that I lived. I got caught out, as liars often do. I shipwrecked my integrity and decided not to do it again. Truth, and the telling of it, is stamped through me like the word “Blackpool” in a stick of rock.

I knew what God was talking about though. Its that question that people ask, “How are you doing?” and that answer that trips off the tongue so easily, “I’m fine.” Truth to tell – I’m not fine. Life is a challenge.

Four weeks ago my driving licence was confiscated. There were police cars in a layby. Random drivers were pulled over. There was a test. Could I read a car number plate at twenty metres? The sad, sad truth was revealed. No, I couldn’t. The way the trolls on the Facebook page had it, I was death on the road.

A next-day sight test revealed cataracts and I have since joined a waiting list for an appointment to speak to someone at the hospital. My own optician offered to do the job for a cool £9,000 – no, that is not an extra zero accidentally creeping in at the end. So I wait.

There are no guarantees that once the cataracts are gone my eyesight will be up to the twenty-metre-number-plate-reading-challenge. I know I should be talking confidence and speaking victory – it’s just I’ve taken a knock sideways. There’s no reason why things shouldn’t be sorted. The optician mentioned that for one in a thousand the operation doesn’t go well. My mother, in the early days of laser-eye surgery, was one of those one in a thousand. She lost the sight in one eye and refused to allow them to remove the cataract from the other.  Are odds of one in a thousand hereditary?

God’s take on that day four weeks ago, and on the ripples that I’m dealing with, is as follows-

·         It happened. There’s no point wishing it was just a bad dream.

·         I have done all that I was asked to do. I’ve surrendered the licence – even the paper bit, I’ve had an eye test, I’ve paid the fine. I need to stop picking at scabs and leave it alone.

·         It may, or may not, be temporary. It is what it is.

·         Ask for help! Allow other people the blessing of serving! Funny how we are eager to help, but less eager to ask for help! I preached a sermon on that a long time ago – I should listen to what I preach and put it into practice.

·         Don’t put into people’s mouths words they haven’t said. There have been many people who haven’t expressed an opinion about what happened. The little voice in my head insists that they agree that I was death on the roads.

·         Don’t dismiss the possibility of miracles. That says much about how cynical I can be. I’ve spent too much time in the company of the young poo-pooers who scorn the supernatural.

·         Life doesn’t come to an end just because I can’t drive anywhere now. I just need to find other ways to do things. God makes available everything I need for life and godliness.

·         Find joy in walking and riding the bus. Enjoy this part of the journey of life.

·         I am still loved by God. There is no twenty-metre-number-plate-reading-challenge to pass to get into the throne room and share heart with Him.

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