If I could sum up the past week with one word, that word would be “inspiration,” because that is what my family has been to me, an inspiration.
What I have learned over the past week is that God is always good, He is always faithful, and He is indescribable. I have been more than amazed at just how good God really is. When I think of my family, all that they have gone through and continue to go through, I am blown away at the amount of faith they put in our wonderful Savior.
Last Wednesday, I was blessed to spend quality time with Dad (Ronnie) as he went to Scott and White for his first chemotherapy treatment for colon cancer (one down, eleven more to go). Time and time again, I always emphasize just how much Dad is my Superman. Although the past few weeks leading up to the start of chemo has left my Dad quite anxious about the next six months, he never seems to lose the faith He has in Jesus. He doesn’t use the phrase, “I’m going to get through this,” by itself. Instead he proclaims, “God is going to get me through this,” acknowledging that only by the grace of God, can he overcome cancer, not by anything he does himself.
Sure, the next six months are going to be tough. Chemo at any level is never easy. Yet with God, one can have hope for the future even in the midst of cancer and chemo. As I sat in the chair next to Dad, I was amazed by how much strength and calmness he had as the poison ran from the IV into his body. He was even trying to figure out future practical jokes to play on the nurses administering the chemo. After all, you’ve got to have a sense of humor in all of this.
While we truly believe that God has a plan for Dad, just as He has a plan for each of us, I would be untruthful if I said that we didn’t also have a fear of the unknown. As imperfect human beings, fear is absolutely a very real part of all of this, and yet, God somehow reminds us to place our trust in Him and not fear. He calls on us to cast all of our anxieties on Him because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). So why do we fear? Why can’t we somehow dispose of those fears when God assures us that He is absolutely in control?
Friday morning when I awoke, I scrolled through my Facebook newsfeed, reading about what was “trending” and what everyone was posting about. Then I read something my Nana posted and I was astonished (which is not an adequate word) by how God spoke to her.
To provide a little context, my grandparents have wonderful children they adopted as their own, and the youngest one has been through major health problems himself at such a young age (age 10). For quite some time, Isaac has battled Juvenile Dermatomyositis, an autoimmune disorder that causes his immune system to attack his muscles when he gets really sick. Having gone through so much himself, he also never ceases to inspire me by telling everyone how much he loves Jesus and how much Jesus loves the whole world.
Here is what my Nana posted on Friday:
We have the most meaningful conversations in the van in the school pick-up line.
Isaac: Mom, has God ever contacted you?
Mom: I’m not sure what you mean, Isaac.
Isaac: Does God ever talk to you?
Mom: Well kind of. I feel He is with me and guiding me.
Isaac: No, have you ever heard His voice? He spoke to me last night and His voice is like an ocean sunset, you know, calm and peaceful. He said for me to stop worrying so much that He is going to heal Ronnie and that I need to rest and in a few days something wonderful is going to happen and then I saw Him and went to sleep.
Emotions flooded over me as I read this post. If ever I needed a reason to not fear and to trust in the Lord, this would be it. If I ever needed a human example of someone’s faith to imitate, it would be Isaac’s. Perhaps too, I also need to stop worrying, and trust in the calmness and peacefulness of our Heavenly Father. What a powerful example Isaac is to me and to those around him. The way He describes our Creator, “His voice is like an ocean sunset,” gives me goosebumps.
To continue to show me how good and faithful He really is, God used yet another example in my family, in Shayla. Last week, I described how this young high school freshman, full of life, accepted Christ as her Savior last Sunday, and how overjoyed I was by her example. I wept tears of joy in welcoming my new sister-in-Christ. When I returned home this past weekend to witness her baptism, I couldn’t stop loving on her, congratulating her, and telling her how proud I was. She has never cared what anyone else thinks of her, and I know that will continue as she unashamedly proclaims to the whole world that she is a Believer who follows Christ.
I was excited beyond words to witness Shayla’s bright smile as her mentor at FBC, Blaine, dunked her in the baptism pool as the entire congregation watched her profess her faith in Christ. For the past week, she couldn’t stop reminding me and telling everyone on Facebook and elsewhere that she is a Follower of Christ and she counted down the days until her baptism which took place yesterday.
The past few weeks, Shayla has also served as a source of inspiration to me. She has shown me just how much we should all proclaim our belief that Jesus is Lord of all.
That same day, Bro. Mark talked about how our lives should be a memorial of when God did something awesome in our lives. When people hear our testimonies generations from now, will they know by the way we lived, that we never ceased glorifying God? When people see us now, will they see the light for the Gospel that we are supposed to be?
2 Corinthians 3:2-3 says, “You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts” (NIV).
When people read our “letters” are they reading about Christ? Are they reading about what we are doing to advance His Kingdom? Are we living by the Spirit of God in order to touch the lives of others?
This is why I am inspired by Dad, by Isaac, by Shayla. I am inspired by them to live my life for Christ with every fiber of my being. Even in the midst of cancer and chemotherapy, Dad still continues to proclaim God’s goodness in His life. Even at such a young age, knowing pain and heartache himself, Isaac continues to share how much Jesus loves him. And with her outgoing spunkiness, Shayla is unashamed to proclaim to the whole world that she chooses to serve Jesus Christ with all her heart. These are the examples I strive to live by.
After Shayla’s baptism and Mark’s sermon, we ended the service singing my favorite song, “Because He Lives” by Bill and Gloria Gaither. I cried tears of joy as we sang these words:
And then one day, I’ll cross the river,
I’ll fight life’s final war with pain;
And then, as death gives way to victory,
I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He lives!
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives!
No matter what the future holds, with Christ, it will always be a bright future. I don’t know what tomorrow brings, but I do know that we can all face uncertain days, because He lives. As believers, we are promised that when we leave this Earth, we will spend an eternity where we will know no suffering or pain. But until then, let us always remember that we can face those uncertain days, and that life is worth the living JUST BECAUSE HE LIVES!
Gaither, William J. and Gloria Gaither, 1971. “Because He Lives.” LyricsMode. Web. 31 Aug. 2015.
New International Version. Bible Gateway. Web. 31 Aug. 2015.
Because He Lives by the Gaither Vocal Band
Lifesong by Casting Crowns