Jesus welcomed the people, taught them about the Kingdom of God and healed those in need. Luke 9:11

Seeds of the Kingdom

Troops and Walls

by Dean Gardner

17 December 2023

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You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. With Your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.
Psalm 18:28-29, NIV

When I was a child, my Mum would sometimes go next door for a cup of tea and a chat with our neighbour Sally. Sally used to be a nurse, and while my Mum and her chatted, I sometimes looked at her old medical books. I was impacted by the graphic images in those books, in particular by pictures and descriptions of various eye diseases and their treatment. The effect of those pictures lingered in my memory, and when I developed an eye infection a few years later, I became so anxious, imagining the possible procedures I might have to go through, that I suffered a panic attack and shut myself in our bathroom. All I actually needed to cure the infection was a course of antibiotics and eye ointment, but it shows how easily fear can find a place deep in our hearts, especially when we are children.

Fast forward fifty or so years later to just a few weeks ago, and I was sitting in the eye clinic of our local hospital facing up to my childhood fears. I had been referred to the clinic after seeing an optician regarding a small benign lesion on the surface of my right eye. The surgeon who examined my eye told me that he could remove the lesion that afternoon. He waited for my decision for him to go ahead with the procedure, or to leave things as they were. I agreed for him to carry it out. I can’t deny that I felt apprehensive as I waited to be led into the treatment room, but at the same time, I was aware of the Lord’s presence there with me as I waited. The procedure took about ten minutes, and thankfully was successful. Two weeks later my eye has healed.

When I returned from the hospital that afternoon, our verses for today suddenly came to mind. For David, the writer of Psalm 18, facing enemy troops and their fortified defences was a regular part of his life as King of Israel. He was competent in warfare, yet acknowledged his dependence on the Lord his God for victory. Most of us today won’t face enemy troops or barricades blocking our way through life, but we do face challenges that can seem just as intimidating or even impossible to overcome.

The Lord helped me to face my fear of having eye surgery, but I realised that, through David’s testimony in Psalm 18, He was reminding me that He wants to help me in every situation I face in life. Those who don’t know Jesus have only their own strength and determination to make it through life. But we, as God’s beloved children, have His ever-present Holy Spirit to encourage and help us in all that we face, and one day to take us through the final barrier of death itself into His presence.

Dean Gardner worked part time in the Ellel Grange Ministry Office for four and a half years until October 2018 and is now part of the Associate teaching and ministry team. He now lives in Norfolk with his wife Gemma. In 1988 he experienced God`s amazing grace at a carol service and began a journey of restoration and healing with Jesus. He longs to continue that journey allowing God`s truth to change his own life but also to share that truth with others that they too might know Jesus for themselves.


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