The first Blogger to Guest Post, Thank you David Welford of Ebs and Flows for setting off theme “FAITH”. I read, re- read and struck gold each time- the painful truth about choosing to follow the Light https://nwelford.wordpress.com/
“Let me introduce myself. I live in the UK but grew up in a tiny island closer to France than England. I moved to England when I was eleven years old. I have been married to Marilyn for nearly forty years and we have five children and four grandchildren. I am the son of a preacher who spent most of his teenage years wishing that his father was anything but a preacher. Why? Because of what seemed to me like persecution: the kids at school teased me, the kids where I lived teased me and one night a group of them caught hold of me and held me against a wall while one of them punched me repeatedly in the face. I wasn’t beaten up because of what I believed but because of the faith of my father. That seemed really unfair because as a teenager faith in God wasn’t high in my list of priorities.
When I was sixteen I joined the Merchant Navy as a cadet. I loved the freedom and the travel and being on ship. Dark places were in abundance in many of the ports I visited, and I am ashamed to say that I entered some of them.
It was back on dry land while studying at Marine College that God took hold of me and faith entered my life. I can only describe the experience as someone turning on many lights simultaneously. Then I went back to sea! Trying to live a life that brings glory to God is very difficult anywhere these days, but it seemed virtually impossible for me while at sea. I was still a teenager and while faith remained, the challenge of keeping the light burning in the darkness was too much at that time.
I was on bridge watch with the third officer on my fifth ship when the captain, who I had sailed with when my faith was fresh and exuberant, came on the bridge after drinking too many beers. This captain had a reputation for using his fists very effectively. I wasn’t sure what to do when he grabbed hold of me. He held me against the bulkhead in the chartroom, put his face into mine and snarled: “Do you still believe in God, son?” I hadn’t a clue how to reply but simply said: “Yes, sir. I do.” Guilt washed over me in waves as I was most certainly not living a Godly life. The captain looked at me and said: “Well believe in me because I am god on this ****ing ship!” Then he left the bridge.
Two years later I was serving as second officer on a 100,000 tonne ship carrying coal from the USA to Japan. The voyage took sixty days. From 02:00-02:30 I was alone on the bridge in the darkness while my watchman went down below for his break. I used to spend that thirty minutes outside, overwhelmed by the beauty of the heavens so visible in the dark of an ocean night. And out of the darkness came God’s voice – never judgemental, just gently reminding me He was there regardless of the life I was living at the time.
Darkness comes in many forms but the darker it is the brighter the light shines when we turn towards it. I can think of many dark times in my own life including depression, a child in hospital for seven weeks with a bone infection that nearly cost him a leg, a son’s marriage breaking up, and nearly losing my wife to meningitis. But the overwhelming memories that remain are not of the darkness but of God’s presence with me whether I noticed Him at the time or not. I couldn’t live without my faith in a God who loves me so completely and so unconditionally. How else would I be here, writing these words and remembering the faithfulness of God, my Father, to me. All of it undeserved: I am not worthy. But that hasn’t stopped God from relentlessly chasing after me as he chases after all of us, passionate in His love, desperate for us to turn our faces towards Him.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.
Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. Then he separated the light from the darkness. (Genesis 1:1-4 NLT).” https://nwelford.wordpress.com/
“…And so it is that everywhere I go I find those little reminders from God. Reminders about Him being strong and me needing His strength, rather than anything I might muster without Him. Then there are the reminders that whatever the problem God has a solution, but that His solutions are very different to anything I might think up. And most importantly the reminder to seek God in everything, and to receive the blessings He sends our way even in the smallest and most unusual of things or events. Because if I focus on seeking God, and if I aim to see God in everything, then perhaps my ability to trust Him might just increase a little…”
GUEST POST, DAVID WELFORD https://nwelford.wordpress.com/
Thank you for a soul stirring read there; so much easier said than done, and you’ve lived a life that has not just stood the test of time, but has a real life story to illustrate what we might just step over as something to hard to do anyway! Thank you for the “Reminders from God about me needing His strength..”
I love the Sarajevo post too in David Welford’s blog, among others. They are true life raw, profound. Unsure how I came across your blog EBS and Flows. I’ll just say it was God reminding me of a beautiful Post just waiting to be read.
If you have a Guest Contribution on this Topic, or related ones, you are welcome too, and do appreciate the one we have published today, I’m sure David W. would love to hear from you…