Who Am I?  Part 4:  Apology

I received some helpful feedback from one of my readers about the article I just posted on Feb. 19th.  I went back and read my article and noticed that if taken by itself, it could come across as being rather egotistical.  Someone could read this and think, “Gee, this person sounds pretty arrogant.”  Now I will admit that I used to be an arrogant person, but I don’t believe that is true anymore today, and I really don’t want any of you to think this about me.

Now I believe that the basic facts are there in the stories.  One thing I didn’t tell you was that because of me, my Grade 5 teacher had to put a lock on the cabinet for the extra homework sheets.  : )  But I did not include those stories just so people could “ohhh”  and “ahhh” at me and praise me for how smart I was.  There are two main reasons why I included that article in my blog site, and I want to make sure that these two points are clear.

First of all, with encouragement from my wife and others, I began last November to write out “my story”.  So the last article about my achievements is simply one part of a larger life story.  And within the context of my life, there was a time that I pushed myself to be a high achiever and was proud of myself when I got those results.  But God has been at work in my heart for a long time now to be more humble in nature, and to give the credit and honour for achievement back to the Lord.

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Secondly, I am looking at my life now with the advantage of hindsight.  As a young man, I thought that I could go out and conquer the world, just like most other young people.  And I especially thought at that time what a great thing it was that God had blessed me with a sharp mind.  But now in the later part of my life I am seeing this blessing from a completely new angle.  The muscle disease which has reshaped my life in so many ways has now shown me how gracious God has been to me.

God, who knows all things in advance of when things will occur, He had it in mind all along that I would be engaged in this ministry work of Bible translation.  He also knew that I would be hit with this Muscular Myopathy in 2008.  Since then, almost all of my major muscles, but primarily my legs, have been affected and have lost significant energy and strength.  Thankfully my major internal organs have not been affected at this point.  And for the most part, I think I can say that my brain has not been too affected either.

And yet, there are times now that I seem to struggle to keep my attention or focus on a task, and after a few hours of doing translation, I find my body and mind can become quite tired.  Then I need to rest for an hour or so to get the energy to keep going with the checking sessions.  And so I have wondered at times, what would I be like if my mind had not been as strong and as sharp as what God had given to me?  Would I have been able to continue doing Bible translation work?

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But God has been very gracious to me.  My heart’s desire ever since I was a teenager was to be a Bible translator.  It took quite a while before I finally got to the field, but from 1997-2002 our family was able to live in a remote village of Papua New Guinea to learn the language and start translating Scripture into their language.  For a family medical reason, we had to leave the field and be in Canada until 2005.  Then we spent a year and a half in Africa helping one of our field branches doing administrative support work.  So finally I was ready to start doing more translation work in PNG by 2007.  I got the training to be a translation consultant, and then my disease hit in 2008.

For three years now I have been struggling with the physical limitations of this disease.  And there were many moments when I wondered if my work for the Lord was over.  But with Jill’s help, and the support of many others, God has been revealing quite clearly to me that He is not finished with me yet and is still able to use me in this important area of translation checking.  And I am so thankful that it is for the most part a task that requires mental energy and not too much physical energy.

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So God in His wisdom gave me a good mind, not so that I would have something to boast about, but He did this in preparation for this time when I would need to have a clear mind to do His work.  In another article I will tell you all that is involved in doing Bible translation consultant work.  But suffice it to say, there are many times when I need to be able to think and talk about Scripture in at least three, and sometimes four different languages.

So just like Paul says, “our bodies are wasting away”, so I am learning to live with a disease which is limiting me in the physical realm.  But while I am still able to and God gives me the strength, I will commit my body to do the work of God, but even more so I will commit my mind to doing the Lord’s work.  My request is that you would all pray along with me that God would heal my body.  But if not, pray even more so that God would protect my mind so that I can continue doing this work for Him for many more years.

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