I try to send a short newsletter around the Trent and Dove Circuit each week. This is the message I have sent for this week, the first since coming back to work…………………..
I`d like to begin by saying a very big THANK-YOU to all those who have supported, sent cards, telephoned, visited, e-mailed, Facebooked and even tweeted me; it has been truly overwhelming and very humbling. Your love, support and prayers have helped me enormously. Thank you.
A special thanks to Gordon Greswell who stepped in so readily as acting Superintendent and relieved me of the anxiety of trying to hold meetings, arrange funerals, worship services and so on. Gordon has been a huge star and I thank him, not simply as a colleague but as a friend. Other members of staff have also been magnificent, visiting in hospital, sending books to read, jigsaws to complete and even a magnificent Lego helicopter all to ensure that I rested. Stella stepped in to take over the supervision of Lew as probationer. Gordon and Stella will reprise these roles whilst I am on sabbatical.
What goes through your mind when you’re lying in the back of an ambulance with the sirens going en-route to hospital? Well, some of you will know far more than I and I can only speak for myself. I felt fear, honest fear. I was sweating profusely, pain across my chest, confused and genuinely scared. To those who say “if you`re a follower of Jesus, you needn`t be scared” I say it`s rubbish. I’ve followed him ever since I was 16 but all the head knowledge doesn`t fully remove fear.
The second thing I felt was total admiration for the lady on the other end of the 999 call, the paramedics and the hospital A&E staff. Calm, efficient, professional, caring and totally understanding. We have a health service to be proud of.
Thirdly, even in the fear and confusion I felt blessed and upheld by the thought that Jesus was with me in the ambulance and then in A&E. Many of you will understand how it is possible to be both frightened and yet still retain the knowledge of a loving Saviour who said “……..I will be with you always”. In many ways it doesn`t make sense and yet it is a reality.
And this is the reality we live with as Christians: placing our trust in the one who sees the bigger picture, not to have the reality of fear removed but to have the assurance that he walks the path with us.
“Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil;
Your rod and staff bring me comfort” Psalm 23