Glory in the Face

By Mike Wilkins

The Face of Christ and the Strength to Face Anything

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  • Sep2Sat

    Time Lost

    September 2, 2017

    As readers of my book may remember, since the days I was a guy in his twenties who longed to have a church and a pulpit “of my own,” I have kept a select group of godly pastors, preachers and writers of the past, as my DEAD MEN, that is, my self-chosen role models. In the book, I referred to some of them as MY FINAL FIVE.

    This week, Deb and I and (most of) our grown children are enjoying being together in a cottage we’ve rented on Ipperwash Beach. As I packed for the week last Saturday, I included a copy of “Letters and Papers from Prison” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who I read quite a bit about in 2012. This was the book I bought that year but didn’t read thoroughly, or even all the way through. This week, I began it again. And I am spellbound.

    In one paper written in 1943, a full ten years after Hitler had become the absolute dictator of Germany,  Bonhoeffer wrote these words:

    “As time is the most valuable thing that we have, because it is the most irrevocable, the thought of any time lost troubles us whenever we look back. Time lost is time in which we have failed to live a full human life, gain experience, learn, create, enjoy, and suffer; it is time that has not been filled up, but left empty. These last years have certainly not been like that. Our losses have been great and immeasurable, but time has not been lost.”

    Wow! In “Glory in the Face,” I described myself as a man experiencing great losses. I wrote:

    “Vocationally, I have said a quiet good-bye to pastoring a church. Personally, I have bidden a fond farewell to long-distance running, solo canoe trips, and many other things that I loved for a long time, but now have lost. Along with these losses have come happy new opportunities. For a while, I have the time—and for now, at least, the energy to write ...”

    And now, almost five years since I was enrolled in the Cancer Club, Mr. Bonhoeffer, just 37 years old, has taught me to rethink these “losses” of mine. He has taught me that these last few years of losses were not time lost, because they were years of gaining experience, learning, creating, enjoying and suffering; all aspects of “a full human life.”

    “Through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks” [Hebrews 11:4].

     

     

     

    Comment

    On Friday, September 8, 2017, Greg Wyton said:

    Thanks for the perspective adjustment once again, Mike. It reminds me of what Paul talked about to the Philippians in 3:7- when he talked about what was so valuable to him at one moment of time. In retrospect he viewed those same things as far less significant than what he had come to understand as the 'infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus. Thanks again Mike.

     

    On Tuesday, September 5, 2017, Linda and Doug said:

    Inspired by your 'rethinking' of your losses. It is interesting how an altered perspective can feel as though the situation has changed. Thanks for sharing Mike and thanking God for the wisdom of those who have gone before us.

     

    On Monday, September 4, 2017, Sharon Bartha said:

    Dear Mike and family. your courage is amazing. I try to remember that any fleeting loss here will one day be replaced; by The Joy of seeing Him face to face, and hopefully hearing well done. Les and Sharon...transitioning onward

     

    On Sunday, September 3, 2017, Linda We Groot said:

    Thank you for sharing, Mike.

     

    On Sunday, September 3, 2017, Garth said:

    Yet another good word, Mike. Please keep writing!

     

    On Saturday, September 2, 2017, Martin Van Schubert said:

    Sorry, my comment wasn't finished and got sent. Well said Mike. To those who endure is given a crown. I have witnessed His strength in you for quite some time now. Paul writes we should live as he does. I want to live as you have brother.

     

    On Saturday, September 2, 2017, Martin Van Schubert said:

    Well.said, as usual, Mike.

     

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