Wednesday, September 24, 2008


There is a young lady in our church, maybe 10 years my senior at most who has cancer. Things medially look bleak for Mary Jo, so please pray for her. I barely know Mary Jo, I've met her officially once, and been in a few worship services with her. She isn't able to be at church, as you can understand. This one has me pretty broken. She has a husband and 2 children, about the same age as my older 2.

We prayed last night for Mary Jo. I have prayed all night about Mary Jo, feeling broken. I realized something, that praying for Mary Jo, I am getting some healing also. About a year ago, something happened in my life that caused a big part of me to die inside. I have been pretty emotionally dead, or at least crippled for about 11 months now. Another part died about 9 years ago when my parents died. Mary Jo needs healing, but so do I.

I made a comment to Gene last night that if I was burdened for the lost like I am burdened for Mary Jo, I would be a different person. We ask for healing for those we relate too, and I can be burdened for those who I can empathize with. Some people, I can't relate too. We don't pray as earnestly for someone who is in their 90s who is dying. We expect them to die as they age, it's the way things are "suppose" to work.

So here I sit in my office on a Wednesday morning. Thinking about my life and how much sense it does or doesn't make. Trying to be a better person, a better pastor. Struggling with life and death, with emotions and hurts and healing. Trying to make something that is not about me at all into something that’s entirely about me. I guess I thought it would all be easier than this.

That brings me to my final conclusion. It’s suppose to be like this. The Bible is full of talk about suffering, the world, about pain and sorrow. Jesus experienced it, the prophets, the great men of faith. We don’t learn without it. Sure, life might be easier if I became a monastic. If I never had contact with another person, then no one could ever hurt me. The downside is that I won’t experience the things that cause me to grow in my faith. Without pressure pushing in, I never have to exert pressure out. Without trials and doubts and temptations, without being exposed to the world and have it push me in, what need do I have of the spirit of God pushing back out?

I’m not self-sufficient. I want to be, I’ve tried to be. I can’t be. I’m not going to make some ignorant statement like “I’ll never try to be self-sufficient again” because I know I have to struggle. I have to fight against the desires of the flesh, trying to push out the spirit. I will try to rejoice in them, knowing that these trials will build in my character, and that character will build in me endurance. I will get hope from the endurance and know that one day, there will be nothing pushing in, and just spirit pouring out in worship.

As I drove to work this morning, thinking about Mary Jo, Aaron Shust’s song “My Savior, My God” came out. I sang as loud as I could. I need healing and I need hope, but I know my Savior lives, my Savior loves, my Savior’s always there for me, my God He was, my God He is, my God He’s always gonna be.

1 comment:

  1. One of my very favorite inspirational quotes comes from AW Tozer. It says, "God cannot use mightily the man whom he has not wounded deeply." How can we become useable vessels capable of bringing a message of hope, healing and restoration through Christ until we become willing to face our own brokenness and acknowledge that our hope rests in Christ alone?

    In the deep places where we praise God in the midst of our circumstance, in the places where we acknowledge our total dependence on Him, something miraculous happens. God begins to manifest His glory through us, He begins to refine and perfect our testimony. Without a story, we have no testimony.

    God is always faithful. Our story is not written in just a few short years, it is written over a life time. It is written in the way the Lord molds closer into His likeness. It is written in the way as we surrender ourselves to His refining fire. It is in submission and surrender that the Lord becomes able to use us to impact the lives of those we love, and share with them our hope in Christ. It is written in our failures and disappointments, and it is written in God's unique way of bringing beauty from the ashes of our self will.

    Our songs of praise come from knowing sincerely that we never walk alone, that in every valley God refuses to let go of us. That in those valleys, God gives us treasures to bring light to a people yet walking in dark places where hope is a stranger. It is in our broken places where compassion grows deep roots and love for others comes from the great love that we are shown.

    The Lord may have wounded you deeply, but even now I see the promise that He will use you mightily. You have been gifted, Dan, with an insight and a sensitivity to others and to God which is critical to understanding and to bringing understanding to a multitude out there yearning for a touch from God, yearning for hope, and yearning for healing and release from captivity.

    Even now, Mary Jo's message is to praise God in all situations. Even now Mary Jo knows that to die is an easy thing. To die is to be with Christ. Yet, she trusts in the Lord to continue to write her story, to perfect her testimony. To sing his praise in spite of what natural eyes see or her human heart may feel. Faith has nothing to do with feeling.

    Her song even now is being sung in the hearts of those whose lives are impacted by her story. No matter how the Lord chooses to complete her healing, her song will be a song of praise by those who share in her sufferings.

    But in her faith, in her uncompromising trust in what is written in the Holy scriptures, in her ability to rise up and praise God, her song combines with ours and ascends to the throne as a chorus of praise to our God!!

    How sweet to know God isn't finished yet!! Joy!!