Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

(part one here)

You've heard the phrase "I waited forever for the train." Well, here in New Zealand this can actually happen.

New Zealand’s public transport system has always been a bit thin on the ground. English readers will recognise the now famous excuse that “There are no trains running today, due to the wrong type of snow falling.” Well, here in New Zealand, every day they have the wrong type of entire transport infrastructure.

Years ago New Zealand had an enviable railway network. Today, after privatisation, there’s one, count them, one national domestic train a day. Its destination, after it has pulled out of Auckland, is SOUTH.

Take Matamata, where the Hobbiton village set is from The Lord Of the Rings. There’s a line that goes there, there’s a station and everything. There just aren’t any trains. Ever. Too much danger of tourism bringing some money into the country. Y’know a monorail system could really put New Zealand on the map...but no. That's really more of a Sydney idea.

In fairness though, what New Zealand lacks on the rails it makes up for on the roads. The national coach services are thriving, Auckland has its own limited rail network, and of course there's always walking. Ah, no, wait a minute, most of the roads here actually don't have pavements. Yes, I know, when building a road, the pavement is usually the second thing that most people would think of. I find it disappointing to realise that, in a country as dependent upon conservation as farm-covered New Zealand, at some point, someone actually decided to ban people from walking and insist that everyone buy carbon monoxide machines instead. Forever.

Anyway, I was still astounded to discover at today that, presumably to combat the above carbon monoxide issue, there were no buses back from Queen Street to Botany after 5pm on Sundays.

In fact, my 45-minute outward journey down to Queen Street looked to be a bit of an adventure as well, but after yesterday’s missed opportunity, today I was a man on a mission. No, wait a minute, it’s just become 3 missions, hasn’t it?

1. Somehow get to church.

2. Have demons cast out of me just in case.

3. Somehow (again) travel home.

So I stood in the rain outside New World supermarket and waited for my first bus. If I could get that, then I might just be able to make it to church in time for the end of the service.

Soon, a different bus arrived, I watched it, and then it left. Then I remembered that today being Sunday, I was actually waiting for a different bus. Dang. Now I needed to get 3 buses, by which time the service may well have finished.

It hadn’t.

The main 'demon guy' from yesterday was up the front speaking along broadly similar lines again.

This church’s services usually end with an open invitation for people to come forward to receive prayer about something. Today it was for people who needed prayer for mental discipline.

So at the end I went forward with the crowd, and prayed that I would be prayed for. Either way, it wasn’t long before all the yelling began again.

About 40 people had gone forward, and it certainly seemed that most of them wound up screaming in agony on the floor again at some point. I wasn’t going to let this put me off though. Darn it, I had come to New Zealand intending to try new things out, and if asking someone to cast demons out of me just to be on the safe side didn’t qualify, then life was a boring thing to be leading.

From very early on I had a curious sense that I would wind-up being the very last one there. Sure enough, people came forward after me, and got prayed for while I continued waiting. I remember wondering if standing in the middle of all these exorcisms was really a safe place to be. At one point I got a burning sensation on my arm, which I told in Christ’s name to go for a bit, until it did. There seemed to be only a few people who left quietly.

2 of my friends saw me waiting, and prayed for me in the meantime.

Finally, after standing there for about 2 hours, there was no-one else left to pray for. The church’s minister came up to me and said “We’ll pray for you, bro’.” So he and ‘demon guy’ did.

But despite all the fireworks I'd just witnessed in front of me, at no point did either one of them verbalise any intention to cast any evil out of me. And why should they? I hadn't asked them to.

The thing is, neither one them had asked me what I wanted prayer for either.

So they prayed for the confusion in my mind to go, and asked for God to provide a breakthrough in His purpose for me this week. One of them also prayed in tongues.

They finished, one of them promised to pray for me during the week, I thanked them both, and left, getting a lift home off Rach from Hounslow.

I decided to take this as a clean bill of health. The irony is, I think I would have felt happier if I’d done the crying-screaming-and-writhing-in-agony-on-the-floor thing. I think what I’d wanted was peace of mind. The only thing that had changed for me since I’d entered the church, was that I now knew that I had honestly tried. I had beaten my fear.

Metaphorically at least, I’d battled a demon with prayer and won.


4 comment(s):

At 6:04 am, Blogger KlownKrusty said...

At the fear of losing my reputation for being a hilarious klown, would suggesting you buy/rent/borrow a bike be considered crazy talk?

At 6:50 am, Blogger Steve Goble said...

TEN! That's a TEN! Krusty the Klown has cracked a TEN!

This would be a klown-bike with one wheel and a hooter for a seat, right?

At 6:50 am, Blogger Steve Goble said...

Would I have to put on big klown feet to pedal it?

At 7:04 am, Blogger KlownKrusty said...

I highly recommend getting a tandem with a fez wearing, cigarette smoking chimpanzee on the back seat. That always goes down well.


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