Friday 10 February 2012

Fraser. Not a Private Matter

This story has the culture of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland for its background, but can be read without difficulty by the 'uninitiated'.  That is because the human experience of disease and suffering crosses all boundaries.  However not everyone has the capability to tell their story with such honesty and reflection as Fraser Tallach.  He was a fit, talented young man, ordained into the ministry and fully intent on serving the Lord in Canada when kidney disease struck.  Fraser's journal from here (Part 2 in the book) records his spiralling health to the point of staring death in the face.  This was in the 1960s when dialysis was a major procedure and transplants were only an emerging technique.   But Fraser is taken to deeper levels of God's grace and teaching even as he passes through pain and weakness with all their attendant emotions.  He wrote later "any resolving of my conflicts was a matter of faith rather than of experience."  Truly, 'my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD' (Isaiah 55:8).  Mercifully Fraser had a transplant at the eleventh hour, and recovered to be able to preach again for many more years.  But in the process of readjusting to normal life he had to struggle with depression.  Listen to this for insight from one who knew what he was talking about: "One word spoken in a threatening, condemnatory, condescending, supercilious or inquisitorial way is like a clap of thunder to a vulnerable person" (p124).
Being divided into three parts makes this a somewhat disjointed book, yet I think it works because the meat in the sandwich is so good.
'Fraser: Not a Private Matter' by Fraser Tallach with John & David Tallach, Banner of Truth Trust, £6.50 p/b.

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