Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Tag Archives: personal experience

Walking Towards Hope – a book review

One day in October of 1997 Paul Beckingham, his wife Mary and one of their young sons were taking a Kenyan boy back to his home on the edge of Nairobi. They came over a hill to find a massive Kenyan military transport coming towards them and taking up the whole road. Their lives changed forever that day. The boys survived with no major physical injuries, Mary had a broken collar bone.

It took several hours to pry Paul from the mangled remains of his car. He lost massive amounts of blood, had many broken bones and one foot was severed. He was rushed to hospital where a team of Christian Kenyan doctors pieced him back together, re-attached his foot and stopped the bleeding. His heart stopped three times during the surgery.

After a few days he was flown back to Vancouver to continue his recovery. Over the next two years he moved from a hospital bed to a wheelchair, to crutches, then to a cane and was finally able to put the cane away. He began to look more and more like the old Paul Beckingham from before the accident.

But he wasn’t. He couldn’t always think clearly, couldn’t concentrate, didn’t always act appropriately and became immensely frustrated. He began to realize that the accident and his continuing disability did not only affect him, but was also hurting his wife and their five children.

Doctor Mel Kaushansky, an expert in neuropsychology, put him through a bank of tests, then sat him down to explain what had happened to his brain in the accident. He told Paul that all parts of his brain were affected and it could be compared to a blueberry muffin, with the blueberries being the damaged areas of his brain. Or it could be compared to Swiss cheese with the holes being the gaps in his mental capabilities. He would never again be able to take on the level of responsibility that he could handle before the accident.

As Paul accepted the devastating verdict and determined to pursue the things he was still able to do, it led him to the reality of Christian hope. He began accepting public speaking engagements and found that telling his story touched many others just whee they were hurting. He began to study again, but needed to take copious notes to compensate for the frailty of his memory.

And he wrote this book about his experience. Near the end of the book he quotes the words of David in Psalm 43:5 and says:

“His hope is not groundless. It is no mere wishful thinking springing from an overactive, positive mental attitude. Nor is it the idle daydreaming of someone who has finally lost touch with reality. This is no escape from reason. The psalmist’s hope is built on confidence beyond that of his own making. He trusts, instead, a hand that is greater than his own. It is a hand that steers his future, moving him from this place called I Don’t Know towards a place called A Hope and a Future.”

I highly recommend this book.

Walking Towards Hope – Experiencing Grace in a Time of Brokenness, ©  205 by Paul M. Beckingham. Published by Castle Quay Books, Kitchener, Ontario. Available on Amazon and Chapters Indigo. Also available as a e-book fro Kobo or Kindle.

On second thought

I posted a couple of articles this week that would have benefited from some sober second thought before sending them out into the unsuspecting world.  It’s not that I think I shouldn’t have said what I said, but i think the articles needed to be turned inside out and upside down, with some things pruned out and more of myself added in.

What I mean by putting more of myself into the articles is that those thoughts have their origin in things I have experienced and observed in real life.  I think that needs to be my starting point, not some statement that comes out of the blue with no visible roots.

Searching for a church is a tricky thing.  Am I looking for a church that agrees with me, or a church that agrees with God?  That isn’t easy to discern.  Since I am a serious, committed Christian, of course the way I see things is the way God sees them.  I have gone down that road and found that it led me to a place where all I could see was the faults of others.

Other Christians do have faults, but are theirs any worse than mine?   I have discovered that if I stop looking at their faults, I can see that they have many attitudes that I would do well to emulate, and gifts that I just don’t have.  We are all doing battle with the same enemies within and without and we need each others help.

However, I have observed a number of disturbing events where pastors and churches did not help seeking souls find the right way.  A young lady began having dreams that the end of the world was coming and she was not ready.  She went to her pastor and he told her, “If you weren’t a Christian you wouldn’t be worried about the end of time.  Don’t let those dreams trouble you.”   But she was not saved, not until several years later.

An older lady had a recurring dream that led her to search the Bible and then led her to give her heart to the Lord.  She was baptized in an evangelical church and all went well for a couple of years.  Then the Lord tried to lead her into a deeper consecration and her pastor told her that she was all right and didn’t need to worry about such things.  A few years later she was back to where she had been before she was converted.

Then there was the pastor of a main line denomination who told me that he believed there were eight or nine real Christians in his congregation.  He was a man with a spiritual vision, but there was little that he could do about it.

These are the kind of things that leave people disappointed and disillusioned with churches.  Some think that God has let them down, others decide Christianity is an unrealistic fairy tale.

But it is not God who has let us down in these situations.  Neither can we become more spiritual by talking about the faults of others.   God’s plan for us does include worship and fellowship with other believers, but we can so easily be detoured by our own ideas of how that is supposed to work out.

What we need is humility, yet we tend to have an allergic reaction when we hear that word.  “What?  You expect me to be a doormat and let everyone else walk all over me?”  Well, a doormat who resents being walked on is not a humble doormat.   A person who is truly humble doesn’t feel like a doormat,.  He lets God direct his life and is continually amazed at the blessings he receives.


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