Stuart’s Story – Pt2


I am fascinated by the minds of those who create strap lines for commercial products as some of you may remember.  We will spend some time discussing ‘Simples’ (the meerkats), ‘JDI’ and ‘Trust Pilot’. I had a long while thinking about things both in hospital and at home. Two of these subjects you may have heard me speak about before, no matter, here they are again. 

13 But his servants caught up with him and said, “Father, if the prophet had asked you to do something hard and heroic, wouldn’t you have done it? So why not this simple ‘wash and be clean’?”
14 So he did it. He went down and immersed himself in the Jordan seven times, following the orders of the Holy Man. His skin was healed; it was like the skin of a little baby. He was as good as new.
15 He then went back to the Holy Man, he and his entourage, stood before him, and said, “I now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is no God anywhere on earth other than the God of Israel. In gratitude let me give you a gift.” 16 “As God lives,” Elisha replied, “the God whom I serve, I’ll take nothing from you.” Naaman tried his best to get him to take something, but he wouldn’t do it.
17-18 “If you won’t take anything,” said Naaman, “let me ask you for something: Give me a load of dirt, as much as a team of donkeys can carry, because I’m never again going to worship any god other than God. But there’s one thing for which I need God’s pardon: When my master, leaning on my arm, enters the shrine of Rimmon and worships there, and I’m with him there, worshiping Rimmon, may you see to it that Godforgive me for this.”
19-21 Elisha said, “Everything will be all right. Go in peace.”

2 Kings 5:13-19 MSG

Lying on my back, trying to go to sleep and worrying whether I will ever recover, and if so, how long it will take. The next night lying on my back, not in pain, but unable to get out of bed without help, knowing I am unable to walk anywhere without assistance, and wondering, when if ever, it will get better.  All sorts of complicated ideas come to mind. Well meaning people suggest all sorts of complicated remedies or people I should consult. All sorts of advanced approaches to the problem and to God are suggested.

Scripture, on the other hand, reminds me God says I know you, I have known you and your body since before you were formed. Scripture says trust me, it doesn’t say…I will fix it by a particular time, or by a particular method, it simply says, I am worth trusting, leave the detail to me. In modern parlance,’  I have got your back`. In my case precisely that.  

Too simple, too plain, insufficiently spiritual.  Naaman wanted to be healed, he researched and planned but went to the wrong person that he was swiftly redirected.  When he reached the right address, he didn’t even see what he thought was the right person. The message he received was second hand and was very basic. No  bells or whistles, no particular person, no particular ritual.  It was simple. Go and wash in the Jordan, 7 times. Pride and DIY nearly obstructed his healing. He knew better, he thought. He stomped off mad as a hornet. He thought he could adapt the message and make it more acceptable.

 I have seen the Jordan. It is not impressive. Easy to see why he preferred a dip in other rivers. But here is another potential trap. Must we do things “by the numbers “exactly or fail? Will failure imply a lack of faith or inability to follow instructions?

In Old Testament times approaching or even speaking to God was regulated by minutely formulated routine. Was that wrong?  Of course not. The God in that era chose to speak to the people of Israel. There was no obligation to do so. God was not compelled to do so, but out of a compassionate heart, he chose to do so. He still does! 

Too Many Moving Parts!

 So what shall I do now? So, what shall we do now? How can I plan to live, and perhaps more important what can I do to be profitable to the local church? Don’t work, don’t eat. That is the base level description of self-employment. We probably all have similar problems to solve. Which problem to solve first, is the first question. Once that is done the next series of questions may fall into place. To the Christian, each set of questions requires God’s answer.

At some point, probably between 18 months and three years old I learned to walk. I have watched Lowenna crawl then walk, and eventually stopped marvelling at her ability to be fully mobile. That’s natural, you say, it is but nonetheless it is remarkable. I must relearn that skill, or drag that which I did learn from the back of my mind. Once that is done all sorts of difficulties disappear. I will be able to work again. More important perhaps, I will have a sense of self worth. I have learned the very real impact of the disadvantages of simple disability. I will try and ensure that I don’t forget. But I am comforted by the fact of my identity as God sees it. He sees me in greater detail than Fiona or my surgeon. 

Back to where we were. Simples. Naaman knew what to do and how to do it. Now he had to just do it. [JDI!] In my family there is a mantra, that is regularly repeated, it expands on JDI , it is DO IT NOW. My mother repeated an old fashioned form, ‘procrastination is a thief of time.’ In truth  procrastination is a real thief of good intentions. How did that go?


Some say checking other people’s opinions on a purchase or service is essential. But how can we do that? As I ponder what I want to happen to my body, is it right to seek confirmation in ‘reviews’?

Hebrews 12 is a direct encouragement to look back, and look around at those who have been where we are. In the message translation they are described as veterans. That scripture, refers back to the previous chapter and to the heroes of faith. How many reviews are sufficient? In Hebrews 11 there are more than enough `reviewers’ and of a varied nature. Leaders, followers, recognised and well known and insignificant. All are commended for their faith and their actions. 

SO DO IT, review the faith of others. 

Recognise your actions are on view, not advertised but seen in real life. Imitate that which is good. Recognise you are a pattern for others. You can encourage or discourage others.

How you react is a real test You are on view!

JFK (Jnr) 11 Orchard Way Leagrave Luton

Where were you? November 22 1962. Where were you? I was 12 years old. I can distinctly recall where I was that day. 

One thing about being confined to hospital, or now home, is the unlimited time available.  National Geographic have a well made documentary entitled `One day in America.’ Worth watching. 3 hours. This was literally an earth-shattering event. 

I said I now get emotional over all sorts of events. The third episode covers the funeral. On the steps of the White house JFK (Jnr) was just 3 years old. It was his birthday. The image of his salute then is quite literally one of the most memorable images of all time. For literally, a second or so, the love of his mother, her desire to show the world and the obedience of the 3 year old combine to make this image. You guessed it, I cried. The commentator says, none there  on the day, were dry eyed. 

It would be much later that JFK (Jnr) would come to understand what others saw. Then just did it. His mother whispered, salute now, and he did it.  

And now, 60 years later I cry, I want to know my future. 

I want help. And you see me. I ask now for God’s help to do it.