The smoother and easier life becomes for Annie and I, the harder it gets to find time and motivation to write something for this blog.
It’s not that we have nothing to write about, it just feels like I am writing for an altogether different kind of blog; the kind of blog I would have no interest in writing. Personally, I have no interest in writing a blog for the sake of sharing my random, personal, biblical thoughts and knowledge with a world I am detached from – or only attached to by ideas and thoughts. This blog was painfully birthed in the reality of suffering and for the previous 118 posts that’s been the environment in which we have shared our testimony of the powerful and wonderful, greater reality of God’s living presence – especially in the place of suffering.
“…for millions of Christians, nevertheless, God is no more real than He is to the non-Christian. They go through life trying to love an ideal and be loyal to a mere principle…Over and against all this cloudy vagueness stands the clear scriptural doctrine that God can be known in personal experience.” – The Pursuit of God, A.W. Tozer
In some way, Broken Chariots is simply two peoples’ response to some of those many arguments against God, against the Bible, against the fact of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Annie and I don’t have (or really desire) the intellectual capacity to engage in high-brow debates across the blogsphere.
For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him. – Philippians 1:29
What we do have is the gift of suffering, the instruction and promises of God’s Word, the empty tomb of Jesus Christ His Son and His in-dwelling, equipping and empowering through His Holy Spirit. If this blog is anything, it’s just a window into that.
In the last few weeks life has been quite different.
In many ways, there’s a lot more of Annie in this home than there has been in a long time. Yesterday she stepped on the weighing scales and is now roughly 7.5 stones (105 pounds). That means that there is a good 14 pounds more of Annie in this home than there was at the end of June! It’s incredible how much room that extra 14 pounds can take up! For now, there is a lot less room for professional nurses and novice care-assistants like myself; my sick-bucket, showering, dressing and carrying services are currently redundant – not to mention my driving and kitchen services. Annie is back in the driving seat – quite literally! Yesterday morning she took the car into town and returned with friends and groceries. By the afternoon the kitchen counters were overflowing again with recipe printouts, utensils and exotic ingredients, the air thick and sweet, as colourful stalks and blobs were smashed and slashed to create a lovely thai curry from scratch, which we enjoyed with more friends later that evening. It’s been a long time since our kitchen was the arena for that rare and technical combo of culinary and athletic feats; and quite frankly, I was honoured (and relieved) to spectate at a distance and later participate in the presentation ceremony!
Our visitors are as lost for words as I often am each day when I see Annie this way; the best sentence we can string is “I can’t believe it!” or “Praise You, Lord!”; most often it’s both!
So, for the last few weeks, life has continued to be normal – wonderfully, incredibly and beautifully mundane; hence the absence of much posting activity. If this continues, our blog followers can apply that rule of thumb: the more physically active Annie is, the less electronically active our blog will be! As long as health and strength increases (or maintains this pace) we both desire to serve the Lord in the real world, not this electronic one! There may well be more of Annie in this house, at this time, but we desire to be poured out more for Jesus.
Before I close this post, I should really mention our recent week away at the Christian conference because folks have been asking.
I’ve been carefully instructed by the friends who joined us for the conference not to refer to our means of accommodation for that week as ‘camping’. Instead, the word that was created for the communication of our personal experience was ‘glamping’ (camping with glamour!). Most of the folks at the conference ‘camped’; we, however, ‘glamped’! Annie may well be increasing in health and strength but the fact is that she still has a cracked pelvis due the effects of bone cancer and although she’s heavier, she is still very skinny! Therefore, as much as she enjoys camping, for now she is in no fit state for it.
For the record – as followers of this blog will know from previous posts – I have never been in any physical, emotional or mental state for ‘camping’! When our friends asked us about joining them at the conference a few weeks ago they assured us that if by faith we agreed to go, they would sort out suitable living arrangements. Little did I know that they would acquire a seven metre long hotel on wheels! Due to the loving kindness of some other friends, instead of enduring the conference beneath a sheet of linen, we were able to enjoy it within a shell of aluminium!
Upon our arrival Annie said that she felt a wee bit embarrassed as we slowly cruised like nomadic royalty through the wet fields dappled with triangular peaks and arcs of cloth precariously pegged into the sodden earth. Men with mallets and floppy hats stopped tinkering with guide ropes and beheld our metal mansion as it rolled into position. Annie was embarrassed; whatever embarrassment I was experiencing was overwhelmed by logic. You see, the funny thing about seasoned campers is that they love camping with a strange logic. I heard one camper say: “The great thing about camping is that you go home and appreciate simple things, like the toilet and the bath.” In my mind, that’s like dropping a concrete block on your bare foot just so that 8 weeks later you can appreciate the luxury of pain-free walking!
Forgive me, I can hardly help myself from a little exaggerative humour at the expense of camping!
But seriously, we really enjoyed our time and the ‘glamping’ experience. And to put the records straight, I did not refrain from getting as stuck into the camping spirit as others did – I even scratched up a new personal best for amount of time wearing wellington boots! Having the motorhome may have been glamourous but it also meant that I had the less glamourous daily duties of dealing with the utilities – not to mention the unspeakable horror that was emptying and cleaning the onboard lavatory container!
And you know, I was reminded of some greater life lessons. Camping was a great picture of what life on this earth really is.
Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. – 2 Corinthians 5:1
The Apostle Paul (who wrote those words) was a part-time tentmaker and he used the image of a tent to describe this body of ours – and by extension, this life of ours on this earth. Camping is a great picture of the attitude to life on this earth that we ought to adopt as Christians. This earth is not home. Even the most seasoned camper looks forward to packing the tent away and getting back home! It’s good to live in such a way that we are not digging our roots into the earth. As we left the campsite last Saturday it was good not only to come back to our home of bricks, mortar and concealed sewage system, but to ask the Lord to help us to continue to live as spiritual campers on this earth; to invest more of our time, our money and our energy in the reality and eternal finality of heaven. In our experience, the incredible thing is, that when we begin to let go of the material stuff that we often cling so dearly to, our experience of the Lord is greater and richer and sweeter. And just like the camper who gets a heightened appreciation for the luxury of home, the sojourning follower of Jesus experiences a wonderful foretaste of heaven! Christian brothers and sisters, it’s good to live out of a suitcase! Let’s be encouraged not to invest our time, energy and money in things that won’t last for eternity. Let’s bear that in mind the next time we reach for our wallets or our diaries!
Well, that was just one thing God taught us before we even got into the conference! God spoke to us in many other ways during the week, confirming things, challenging us and encouraging us greatly. No need for us to write about those on this blog. We want God to write those things out in our lives.
I promise, pictures will follow!