…………there are days when I wish so badly that quitting on J10:10, walking away, feeling smug about all that I have done once I’d stopped, and just returning to a normal life were actually an option. If Mother flipping Teresa could have bad days then I’m also entitled to them. All right?
Friday was one of them And today is another. It probably doesn’t help that for the first time in my life I’m lonely……I desperately miss Hildah, my wonderful new wife, who is stuck in Uganda while we try and work out how to satisfy the UK Border Agency that she isn’t a terrorist, a health tourist or a potential illegal immigrant. We will work that out and when I return to Uganda in December that should permanently mark the end of our enforced separations.
I don’t know what came over me on Friday but I suspect it was that most loathsome of human emotions – self-pity. Yuck.
I was driving away from the plush offices of a company I am doing some consulting for – in order to get the money to finish building the ‘Hospital in the Hills’, fund the J10:10 House and staff, and start saving for 2013′s BIG project. I was driving my rental car – a completely unedifying Korean creation – when I saw a man a little younger than me in his Range Rover. I was due to drive back to the small, cheap and uninspiring flat in Salford that is my home when I’m in the UK, I was worrying about whether to use Eucalyptus for the roof of the Hospital in the Hills instead of pine in order to save money………….and I just thought, ‘Oh f*** this. I’m done.’
I’ve owned five Range Rovers and now I drive someone else’s Hyundai. I’ve owned and lived in beautiful houses in the most beautiful parts of Britain. Now I live in a rented flat in Salford. My income is now less than a third of what it used to be and yet a good deal more than half of the £100k a year that I work my balls off to earn is spent funding health, sanitation and education work that the money-grabbing, corrupt Ugandan politicians should be funding. Enough is enough. I’ve done more than most. I’m sick of being stolen from by the people I’m trying to help; criticised by the ‘Christians’ who think that Jesus is a fluffy Christmas card character; and depressed by all the all the ways that I fail. That’s it. I’m going to live a normal life and enjoy the things I earn and enjoy sharing normality and a little bit of luxury with the wife that I love. That’s it God, I’m clocking out. Thank me for all I’ve achieved as I leave the building please Lord.
And then it hits me, as it always bloody does. When I made the decision to follow Jesus, did He promise me it would be easy, luxurious, rewarding in this life, comfortable or safe? Did He suggest that his people would would appreciate me? Did He assure me that I would get everything right? Did He hell. He says to me, and to all of his children that we have to pick up the cross on which we are to be crucified every day. The good days, the bad days and the indifferent days. He knows that I am dust – that I’ll do as much bad as good. And He knows that there’ll be days when I just want to give up.
BUT He promised that He would be with me always – ‘even to the end of the age.’ And that His strength was sufficient me even in my weakness. Actually, ESPECIALLY in my weakness. And I know, in every mollecule of my being, that the other thing He said was true as well – ‘Apart from me you can do nothing’. And so I’m concentrating on cleaving myself to Him.
The truth is that if I give up, or scale down, or don’t do anything more and just try to supervise what I’ve done so far from afar – it’ll all be ineffective, second-rate or gone completely in less than a year. The cross that Jesus gave me (which I love incidentally) is one that I will never be able to put down before the day that I die. And if, in his strength, I keep carrying it then I will one day hear the words, ‘Well done good and faithful servant.’ And the fact that they come from the lips of the man who loved me enough to die for me – will make it ALL worthwhile.
So pass me that sodding cross. For Michelle, all the kids in the J10:10 house, the villagers in Kigazi, Milly and Amulle, the people who we are sponsoring through school and all the others that we help……………………….in your strength Lord Jesus – I choose NOT to quit. Ever. But I can’t do it alone. Thank you Lord that I don’t have to.