September 6th – Bearing the Pain



Again today, we are considering the neglected doctrine of Christian perseverance. In a book by Paul Brickhill called “Reach for the Sky”, we read the story of the late Douglas Bader, in the 1930’s. He was a carefree young man with the world at his feet. A commission in the Royal Air Force: eligible for an English rugby cap, and trained as a pilot cadet to fly fighter aircraft. One day, while flying solo and admittedly showing off, he flew too low over the airfield. A wing touched the ground and in the crash he lost both his legs. In hospital he lay in a coma, till in the corridor a nurse outside dropped a tray and the sister said “Sh. there’s a boy dying in there!”
The shock hit Bader, “She means me!” “Well, I wont die, I’ll fight”, he said, and the pain immediately returned. He gradually recovered, even from the shock of knowing he’d lost both his legs, and was told he would never walk, never drive, never fly again. He persevered, trying to learn to walk in artificial legs. The stumps of his legs were raw and ulcerated, yet mastering the bars and crutches, he fell ten thousand times, but got up ten thousand and one times, until he had learned to walk, to drive, even to dance after a fashion with the girl he’d met and later married. When war broke out he fought to get back into the R.A.F. and succeeded as the only man on a full disability pension to be re-enlisted. Dissatisfied with his desk job he eventually led a squadron out against the Luftwaffer. When he was shot down he unbuckled one of his tin legs by which he was trapped in the cockpit, and baled out. The German Army captured him. The R.A.F. flew in a spare leg. He put it on and escaped! He was recaptured and escaped and that was more than once, so they put him in the fortress of Colditz, where even there he was part of the plan to build a glider on the roof of the castle to fly out., when the Allies liberated Europe from Nazism and he was freed.
I don’t know if Douglas Bader was a Christian or not, but he embodied what the Bible calls ‘perseverance’, and prescribes it for all Christians. Bader became an inspiration to a million amputees, saying a million times, through gritted teeth, ‘I will not give in, I can beat this.’
As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered.
You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. James 5:11
Thought for Today:
The only failures in God’s realm are those who refuse to try.
A Prayer:
Convince me Lord, by your Spirit, then when I feel “Poor old me, I am so sorely treated”, it is not you speaking, but me.
Now read Matthew 26:36-50

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Thought 4 The Day

A Warning from Queen Victoria (1819-1901 ): “He speaks to me as if I were a Public meeting.” (For Gladstone and everyone else.)

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