Quiraing, Skye

The’fangs’ of the Quiraing from the north.

Ceumannan (Footsteps)

The north ‘gateway’ to the Staffin ecomuseum, Isle of Skye

More snippets from last year’s Diary

Tuesday 23rd October 2012

A date for the operation

Margaret has been given a date for her operation. It is Thursday, November 15th. We are both very aware of what the operation entails. She will be in intensive care or high dependency for two days and be in hospital for a week to ten days. After such an operation, it is a long convalescence, six months to a year. We don’t know what is ahead of us. If it wasn’t for Margaret’s faith, she would be in a much worse situation. She has said as much herself more than once, she would be in a terrible place without her faith in God. God has so often spoken to her in so many wonderful ways. I can see myself that to be a great comfort for her. And for me as well. Despite the suffering, what wonderful experiences we have been through together. The feeling that there is a spiritual dimension beyond this one, and yet interpenetrating this world, is overwhelming.

Thursday 25th October 2012

‘The four worlds’ again

So talking of the four worlds, as I have been, (nature, man’s creation, history and the present moment) is seeing things from a human perspective. Because, in reality, all four ‘worlds’ are really one, in and from the Origin, they can be thought of, from a human point of view, as a loop. The important thing is that the God, who is outside time, enters time in the present moment of the living heart. Why? Because we are mind and consciousness and God is the eternal consciousness. We are but drops in this universal ocean. Like a spark from a fire we rise up from him and descend again into him. Although the world is contingent, it stems from an eternal necessary being.

Monday 29th October 2012

Christianity explored

We went to Christianity Explored on Friday. Most of the people there were already Christians, although there were perhaps two who weren’t members of a church. Christianity Explored is, as far as I can see, to help people who are not sure, to make up their minds and to believe. It would probably work better in the city where there is anonymity and people can come and then disappear again. In the rural setting of the village people are probably reluctant to come because everyone knows everyone else and if you start something like this you have already partly committed yourself, or at least expressed an interest.

Monday 5th November 2012

Trusting in God

Less than three weeks to go now until Margaret’s operation and the nearer we get to it the more worried, I suppose, we become. The worst is always the unknown, the not knowing. How will the operation go? What will it be like after the operation? We sit down and talk about it sometimes. We talk about how God has dealt with us in the past. All the signs and marvellous things that have happened to us. We are astonished that God should bother with sinful people like us. But unless we are completely deluded, he has and he does. Again and again things happen that astonish us. We see how God has been in control of our lives even before, perhaps especially before, we started putting our trust in him.

God – real or self-delusion?

I can only speak for myself. I know how I was for many years. I’m thinking of my state of mind. I didn’t really believe in God. I did things whose memory now, before God, makes me feel ashamed. I lived as if there was no God, only God as an idea, not a living reality. Naturally, in that state I didn’t see God working in my life. Now, it’s different. Because I now believe and trust God in Jesus, I see his hand everywhere. Is this self-delusion? Or are we both deluded? I don’t think so. Why? Because far too many things have happened and keep happening to us which can only be explained if there is a God. I’m thinking of how we met first, how we were later brought together, the amazing coincidences which happened and keep happening, how the Bible speaks to us and the trans-physical events which have accompanied all this. This is all the more remarkable when I remember the type of mind I had, namely, a philosophical sceptical mind which questioned everything. I was determined not to be taken in by the naivety of believers! And yet, now, I am one of these believers myself. And because of the experiences I have gone through.

When we think of these experiences, Margaret and I feel an assurance that, whatever happens, all is for the best. It is not a naive assurance but one qualified by all that has happened to us.

C.S. Lewis –‘intellectual assent’ or ‘trust’

This week I’ll be preparing for the radio programme Smuain na Maidne (Morning Thought). Not difficult because I’ll be doing it for National Book Week and will discuss some of the books I’ve been reading recently. One of them has been C.S. Lewis’s essay collection Faith, Christianity and the Church. Lewis, for me, is a fascinating writer because he’s an orthodox Christian and at the same time subtle in his analyses of issues and he’s splendidly learned, and, better still, carries his learning lightly. In his article ‘Is Theism Important?’ he discusses faith and makes the useful distinction between faith which is mere ‘intellectual assent’ and, secondly, ‘a trust, or confidence, in the God whose existence is thus assented to.’ This strikes me as a very useful distinction. To be daily waiting upon the Lord and relying upon him in all sorts of ways, as friend, judge, creator, adviser, is very different to merely giving intellectual assent to the proposition’ ‘There is a God.’ To have a relationship with the living God, as a person who revealed himself through Jesus, is entirely different to just believing that there is a God.

God’s time

Because of the personal experiences I’ve had, I believe in this kind of God who in his own way and in his own time communicates with human beings. ‘In his own time’ is vitally important. God cannot be used. The initiative is always with God. God ‘stoops’ to our level and it happens when we least expect it or when we have given up. When we stop relying on our own brains or whatever, God steps in.

Coming through the snow

When we came home on Saturday night (we had been to a ceilidh) it began to snow heavily. We came over the Bealach (pass) of the Quiraing. Anyone who knows the Quiraing will know how steep and twisting the road is in parts. It was horrendous coming down the Staffin side. I slowed to a crawl. Margaret was ready to jump out of the car; she is terrified of snow because of an accident she had involving snow years ago. However, we got home safely and praised the Lord for it. We did our evening reading which includes a sequential reading of the psalms. It so happened that the reading was psalm 68 verses 13-19 which includes the lines ‘When the Almighty scattered the kings in the land / it was like snow fallen on Zalmon’ and ‘The chariots of God are tens of thousands / and thousands of thousands.’ But verse 19 was probably the most appropriate: ‘Praise be to the Lord, to God our Saviour, / who daily bears our burdens. / Our God is a God who saves; / from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death.’ We pray that it may be so!

We pray it may be so
When the whirlwind descends
On our desert, may your chariot
Take us to the silent stream
Out of the wind and heat;
Your presence there stilling
The pool, and reflections
Of the evergreen tree
Saying, ‘Be still, and know
That I am God.’ Be still,
Be still, O heart, and know.