The challenge of walking with the God who knows me
Names changed throughout except in some cases where the person involved has been or is in ministry.
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If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Cor 5:17
Proverbs 16:18 (NIV)
“Pride goes before destruction a haughty spirit before a fall.”
The next day was to be my 22nd birthday. My friends had not come to ‘rag’ me for my 21st maybe they would come this year. I decided on some preparations. How to make my room into a fortress. In one sense it was quite easy – just lock the door, but that would prevent me from going to meals or lectures. I concluded that I could jump down from the window, and had a rope that I could let down to climb back in.
The next day, they did indeed come. They failed to get in, but left a bucket of water against the door so that my room would be soaked when I opened the door. So I jumped out of the first floor window. The fall was not that far and I had been practising parachute roles to break the fall. What I had not figured on was that there is a very different sensation and timing coming down by parachute than falling. There was no time to respond correctly, my legs collapsed rather than bending to the side and the weight of the fall went straight up my back. When I tried to get up, I was in agony. As in my foolishness I contemplated going to breakfast, one of the workers came out to tell me off, only to find that I was in trouble. They laid me down in an office and called an ambulance. It was an agonising time, peoples first impression of a student jumping out of a window during exam season was that I had attempted suicide. You could see their faces turn to mirth as they came to my date of birth: Students :-).
When my friends came to see me they came with the same rather jovial attitude as when they came in the morning to give me a bath. There was no sympathy, just a series of cards with Biblical inscriptions about ‘falls’. I thought they were completely off the mark. Didn’t they see, ‘I’ had had it all figured out. The only slight problem was that it hadn’t worked. The doctors seemed to have the same approach. The doctors who brought round the group of medical students took great delight in explaining to them how my little knowledge had proved a dangerous thing. He didn’t seem to understand that I knew perfectly well how to make a parachute roll, that I had landed many times paragliding.
The reality was however that it was they who were right. There was a spirit of pride and arrogance about what I had been doing. I was going to win out using my cleverness. I was so proud of my parachute rolls and my cleverness at second guessing what my friends would do. Yet these two brought me weeks of agony and a bad back. I had not sought the Lord's help nor had I walked with him through it. It seemed to me a game that I was determined to win.
The Lord was however very merciful. It could have been that I was paralysed from the waist down. When some of my medical friends came to visit me they were amazed to see me up and about, and indeed there had been some bad reactions in my feet when first admitted to hospital. It did however have an effect on my University course. I was struggling with the mathematics and it was questionable whether I would get into the honours year at the end of the course. With a hospitalisation in the midst of the exams, my failure was certain. As a result the Lord could deal with pride in a deep way. I had nothing to boast about, from University with only an Ordinary degree. Thankfully even here there was mercy and the Lord used it to provide an excellent way forwards.