Shingles and Taking on the World Silver Medallist!

Sometimes I’m a seriously slow learner.

I was speaking a couple of weeks ago in Bujumbura from Hebrews 12 and running the race with/for God. In the front row, I spotted one of Burundi’s heroes, Charles Nkazamyampi. He’s become a good friend over the last few years. I love what he does, using his fame as a vehicle for reconciliation and forgiveness around the country. So I took the opportunity to have a race against him around the church! Who won? Take a look…

Incidentally, he tells some of his remarkable story HERE. Running and getting the silver medal in the 1993 World Championships in Toronto after receiving a phone call informing him his parents had both been murdered and their bodies dumped down a latrine… what can you say to that?

I digress.

Why did I start by saying I’m a slow learner? Because I’ve just recovered from a bout of shingles. Indeed it almost stopped me going to Burundi. I don’t believe God inflicted it on me to teach me a lesson, but I do believe there was a lesson to be learned in getting shingles. They hit me on the back of speaking 27 times during the previous 18 days, which included blasting all over Scotland, the South West, London, Norfolk and more.

Communicating is my passion, my life-calling. But as Charles modelled in his successful running career, you have to pace yourself. Don’t lag behind or run too fast. “Keep in step with the Spirit!” (Galatians 5:25) I was like the person that Brother Lawrence wrote about who was full of good intentions, but who ‘wants to go faster than grace allows’.

I wouldn’t wish shingles on anyone, although thankfully we got the meds on it quickly so it didn’t spread too much.

Anyone else treating the 10 Commandments (or some of them) like the 10 Suggestions? We take some of them very seriously, and others not so seriously. Honestly, the one about Sabbath rest I was functionally treating as optional.

So hopefully I’ve learnt a pretty fundamental life-lesson this last month. And if that’s the case, then thank you shingles, begrudgingly, for slowing me down and helping me recalibrate my pace for the long haul.

May you not have to learn that lesson the hard way! 

And then lastly, for your amusement/revulsion, here’s a quick clip of my end-state after my message during the response time!

5 Comments4306 views


  • Great fun! The race around the church – not shingles. Had that. Painful yeh? But as a nurse said to me on another occasion: It’s only pain. She wasn’t lying where I was lying. Compassion speaks louder than words and you show it in spades wherever you go. Keep on showing it . . . but at His pace 🙂

  • It might be time to read The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer. Be blessed and take good care of yourself.

  • What a feat – and for His glory! I echo what Al Harris wrote, and will pray for your recovery to be complete and not too slow – and for Lizzie, Zach, Grace and Josiah who must be longing to see you back – and visibly restored! As Al wrote – His pace is best.

  • […] And sometimes we get to run against world silver medallists. […]

Join the discussion

Your email address will not be published.