The Free Church The Record

End of Trial – Murdo Murchison – A Prince is Fallen in Israel

51GZTJKNegL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_My heart is heavy and sore.  We have just finished preparing  the latest extract of Murdo Murchison’s  “One Good Owner’ for the May Record.   Then this morning the simple message came:  “Murdo has gone home”.

I have lost a faithful friend and brother; someone who I admired and loved deeply.  As have others.  It is a sore lost for the church of Christ in Scotland.  A lovely and beautiful  Christ centred man is no longer with us.

His family of course have lost all that and much, much more.  I cannot fathom their sorrow, but I can commend them to the one who does.  Please pray for them all – especially Margaret and their children. We weep with those who weep.   (We will get a proper tribute later but meanwhile here is the article we have just sent to press -i t was especially poignant to read his words again.).

End of Trial – Murdo Murchison…

The cancer unit at the Western General in Edinburgh is in a pretty mundane part of the city; full marks to the architect who designed the waiting area to have spectacular views of the magnificent city and castle, which is second only to Stirling within the UK! The poor designer probably had to argue with unimaginative, faceless NHS accountants to put in the large plate glass windows! At this venue, along with radiotherapy treatment, the brain tumour research team administered a dose of the possibly life-extending trial drug through an infusion. However, my temperature shot up and I was admitted to Forth Valley Hospital despite my protestations that I was fine.

Following a number of blood tests, I was transferred to the Western General as my liver function tests showed a dramatic increase in one of the enzymes – from 50 to 897! It turns out that I had an ‘extreme adverse reaction’ to either the trial drug or the chemotherapy. Fortunately, no lasting damage has been done, but it means that for me, anyway, the trial programme has come to a sudden end and I cannot have any chemotherapy for the meantime. Hopefully my bad experience will help the research team to modify this new drug, which has already proved to be of value in some cases.

I was yet again looked after very well in hospital as the crisis lessened day by day, although it will be some weeks before I am back to normal. This whole trial programme, which has such complexity, reminds me of the greatest of architects – our Creator God. He made each one of us uniquely with different characteristics. Mine are proving to be a challenge for the trial drug! Joking apart, to be on the programme in the first place, my health had to be good and there was just a 33 percent chance that the tumour had the correct receptors for the drug.

With human intervention losing steam, it is now down to a powerful and sovereign God. My confidence in him is total and the words of Psalm 139:13-15 (ESV) speak to me powerfully:

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

So, the trial drug is not going to extend my life after all. At the end of the day, only my Creator can, if he sees fit, cure me; and his Word assures me that, whilst the best and cleverest of international research programmes know a lot and are innovative and efficient, he as my Maker overrules. Friends, keep praying…

Take the time to read the whole of Psalm 139, written 3,000 years ago, yet fresh, challenging, relevant and for the most part comforting, especially when considered in the light of Jesus.

One of the great things about Murdo is that he was very real without being cynical.  His attitude in this chapter epitomises that clearly.  He exemplified the kind of hope that makes every situation a win/win for the Christian.  On the one hand he hoped and prayed for healing.  On the other he trusted absolutely that his times were in God’s hands and his greater hope was for Heaven.   I think some more verses from Ps 139 sum it up beautifully.

v.16 – “all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Isn’t it wonderful that Murdo made it to his 60th birthday).

v.18 – “when I awake, I am still with you. ”  (He knows the experience of that verse now – we only anticipate).

v.23-24 – “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” 

iut2Ao_q_400x400His trial is over.

His race is done.

His journey is complete.

His weary body and soul will now experience the ultimate renewal from the One Good Owner.

Well done, good and faithful servant – enter in to the joy of your Lord.  Our world is poorer without you.  Your joy is complete

We follow on.

‘The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away.  Blessed be the name of the Lord”


(for some reason this link did not work for some people – I have reposted – let me know if you have any problems).


  1. A dear believing friend, who spent many years working, with her husband, as a nurse in a leprosy clinic in Papua New Guinea, is also receiving treatment for two cancerous tumours (liver and lung). Her attitude, when she informed my wife and me about the situstion was simple: “I am in a win/win situation. If the Lord permits me to be healed, |I shall have longer to spend with my husband and family. If not, I shall see Him that much sooner!”

    Happy, indeed, are those who can face even death “in the Lord”.

    We pray for this dear brother’s widow and family who will certainly grieve – but need not do so as those who have no hope!

  2. Having just put down “One Good Owner” this morning, I can only say thank you God for the witness of a little chap who through life, with trials and tough times, grew to be a true man of God.
    I only have one tiny comment to make, that scripture clearly tells us that when Jesus comes to take us home, the dead in Christ will be raised first, then we which are alive and remain will be caught up together with them. If giants like Murdo are already in heaven, watching the trauma the rest of us are going through, then who are the ‘dead in Christ’. Surely it is more calming and reassuring to know that God is watching over every resting place of his children, and they are experiencing no more pain or heartache until they see His face? They went to sleep in hope and they will rise newly created/restored. Having lost a son too early through cancer, I can’t wait to meet him again, in the air! Then our journey will be just beginning 🙂
    Thank you so much for sharing that Murdo made it to his 60th birthday. God is good.

    1. Thanks Heather….I think that Jesus also clearly taught that the thief on the cross who came to believe was that day to be with him in paradise. I think that is better than the ‘soul sleep’ position. The biblical teaching is that our spirits go to be with Christ immediately and our bodies await the day of resurrection when body and soul will be reunited.

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