Monday, October 10, 2011

10th October

Ok so that was easy. Well now I’m on a campsite on the outskirts of a delightful village called Hanley Swan which in turn is fairly close to Malvern. A 100 minute journey is far less tiring than the 4 hours plus to the south coast which I’ve been getting used to tackling recently. And in one sense the destination is identical… a campsite is a campsite. Although the sterility of a club-site is very predictable with it’s manicured lawns and immaculate shower block, it always provides a comfortable, safe and peaceful environment which is all I need right now. I much prefer the site in Martin Mill, near Dover, with it’s countless fruit trees sheltering abundant wildlife and a constant stream of Europeans, on a stopover for the ferry, who are often willing to pass the time of day. The trains passing regularly less than 50 metres away add to the air of familiarity as well! But then again here in Malvern the background ambience may well be changed by RAF jets buzzing the hills, although I can’t remember seeing them for a year or two now.

Anyway my real purpose in coming away is not about having a holiday, that’s pretty meaningless to me at the moment. What I need is this change of scene to be engaging enough to relieve the unremitting grief that exacerbates my ill health. And really I’m talking about something rather more than a break away from my home with all it’s memories; I’m talking about fresh vision for life, a God encounter, a touch from heaven, something to keep a hold of when I’m dealing with grief. The Lord can meet with us anywhere he chooses, we do not need to travel to a special place or reach out in a particularly religious way. But I’ve found that there is something about adopting a posture that is receptive to the Word of God, we sometimes carry so much baggage, that cries with such a loud voice, that we struggle to recognise what the Lord is actually saying to us. The concerns of this world can so easily become truly overwhelming and then our emotions or intellect become the only clear voice. So for me at the moment, I need to be alone, often walking, to allow my thoughts to become more orderly, my emotions to calm down and then the Lord feels very close. That is how God is positioning me at the moment; in previous times I’ve been led to church meetings across England and as far as the USA to meet with God, I’ve also found the discipline of fasting quite powerful… right now though I walk, alone. And I hope to be responsive to the Lord when I hear him say ‘go there’ or ‘do this’ for as he directs my pathways there will I find victory over life’s challenge.

But with today’s technology I’m not in complete isolation. I’ve just spent an engaging half hour, despite being a little sleepy, with my older grand-daughters who’ve discovered the wonders of a webcam on Skype! A little coaching and all of a sudden they see themselves changed into a responsive animation of a teddy bear and then a snowman and a pirate. It got confusing when we started using images of my other grand-children though… but still fun.

If the wind eases I’ll walk the hills tomorrow. Many years ago at a Christian Family Camp on the nearby showground I’m quite convinced we heard angels singing...

Proverbs 20:24 ‘The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?’ (NLT)

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