Thought for the Month (May 2016)

Dear Friends

I will title this letter 'Anxiety'.

When we listen to the news, or turn on the TV, to see and hear the latest developments in the world, the headlines are always the problems. The Refugee situation, Europe, Climate Change, British Steel, and so it goes on. What can we do as individuals, and as Christians? The most important thing we can do is pray. Pray for the politicians and all the other people who are in place to do the practical things.

We all have anxious times in our lives, whether they be financial, work, housing, children, or health. Again, prayer is there. Sometimes we feel God is nowhere near, or we forget to take things to Him. At times we pray, and then immediately pick up the burden again and fail to leave it with God.

Some months ago I was called to the surgery following a routine blood test; two problems had come to light. Iron was given for the low blood count easy! The other problem was going to be more complex to solve. My prostate gland was not as healthy as I thought and further tests were needed. After three months, more blood tests were taken which resulted in me having to take a trip to Pembury Hospital for further investigation. All this time, feeling anxious, and praying, and trying to remember to leave the problem with our Loving Father. Then a trip to Maidstone Hospital was needed for some very unpleasant tests.

We then saw the Consultant who was a very quietly spoken gentle man. He had the task of telling me that I had prostate cancer. Those of you who have been in this situation will know how that feels. Disbelief. Did I hear right? Why me? Now what? Thankfully, he was quick to reassure me that the future looked good. There would be treatment to undergo and all would be explained by the Oncologist, and a plan worked out for me. The Oncologist was a very gentle and reassuring lady. She said thirty-seven treatments were needed, but at the end of that time all should be well.

All through this time, prayer was important. The Church Family, our own family, and friends were all praying.

After a few trips to Maidstone for instruction on what to do before each treatment, meeting the Macmillan nurses and watching a video on what happens during the treatment, we were given the plan of action. Dates and times of all the appointments were provided, as well as car-parking arrangements. It all seemed very daunting.

It meant an early start each morning, and a stop on-route to drink a bottle of water as the time it took to fill the bladder had been carefully timed beforehand. I always felt there were three in the car, not just my wife and I as we went backwards and forwards.

As the weeks went on we became very friendly with the people we met each morning, who were going through the same treatment. It was always the same folk with new ones coming in as the others gradually came to the end of their treatments. There was always a lot of chatter, laughing and fun. In many ways we miss those journeys and the times spent talking with different people. The Radiotherapists were always so patient and helpful, always making sure you had nothing to worry about. One did ask if I was worried about the future. I said no, I am a Christian. His reply was that he thought I was and he wished he could be as well but he didn't think he was good enough. I tried to tell him God's grace was not earned but was a gift to all who believed in Jesus.

I will finish with this thought. At the time of a storm, some of Jesus' disciples felt they were about to be drowned. If only they had learned that they were better in the boat with Jesus, than on the shore without Him. He is always there with us, and I thank Him for that experience.

May God's blessing be upon you all.

Colin Owen (Elder, Hawkenbury URC)

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Tunbridge Wells United Reformed Church