Monday, January 11, 2010

Words of Encouragement

I listen to talk radio, and sometimes it drives my wife nuts. When I first started listening to it with her she really hated it, she would say "Why are you listening to this, old people listen to this". I get it from my parents, they listened to it when I was growing up. The funny thing is I hated it at first, then it started growing on me. I remember being like 11 years old, sitting in the back of our station wagon listening to Paul Harvey's "The Rest Of The Story". My wife, and some of my friends wonder where I come up with my obscure facts, it's talk radio, and the occasional weird science TV show.

Why am I writing about this? Well, it's because I wanted to share something real quick (OK, you and I both know I am long winded, and type-ed) with you. I have received 2 e-mails of encouragement that reminded me of something I heard on talk radio. It was about 6 months ago that I was driving home and heard a pastor and an Evangelist/missionary in an interview. Usually I would change it because 80% of the time I think the interviews are really cheesy, this time I just listened. About 5 minutes into the interview I was able to derive that this evangelist/missionary being interviewed was sick with some sort of serious illness, but you could hear life in his voice. A few minutes later I pulled up to my house and parked my truck and listened.

The pastor asked the evangelist so many good questions, and the evangelist replied with such honesty it blew me away, I remember thinking I have never heard anyone so honest on the radio. He was revealing very personal feelings on real issues in his life. I could tell that the pastor was a bit taken back by his honesty as well, then I heard something so profound. This evangelist was asked "When people come up to you and ask you 'If God is real why hasn't he healed you?' What do you say?" His reply was enough to make me choke back tears, I will give you not exact quotes, but a summery of what he said.

His reply was I tell them before I had this illness I thought I was a caring and compassionate man, I thought that I was sensitive toward other people and what they were going through. I thought I knew how to be open, caring, and loving; but I was wrong. One thing I know for sure was that my family didn't always think I was very compassionate. I tell them that it was because of this that I think God allowed this sickness to become a part of me. I think that he looked down from heaven and said (The evangelist name) is not whole, I want him to be whole, he prays that my will be done, and I want him to be more compassionate, sensitive, open, caring and loving. He does well but for some reason he is not allowing himself to operate in the fullness that I have for him. This test will allow him to live his life in the fullness that I desire for him. He went on to say I tell them that the reason why everyone who knows me says I am a good man is because of this sickness. It has allowed me to walk in the fullness that God desires for me, and it is the only way I would have ever listened. I tell them if it were not for this sickness, I would not be where I am today with God, and this ministry. I tell them that I would rather be sick and whole than healthy and in pieces.

The pastors words after that were, "That is incredible, I have never heard anyone explain something like this the way you have". Nor had I. The disease was Systemic lupus erythematosus. The miracle was that he was one of the only people in the world to have gone through symptoms, but the symptoms went from bad to tolerable, and he is able to continue his ministry. So that brings me to today.

I have received 2 e-mails of encouragement, and both had the same theme. Both meant a great deal, and both made me think of the interview above. My desire is to be like that man, to be able to look through my circumstances and to the goal, or the reward. That is why "All things work for the good of those who love him". It makes sense, although not always while you are going through it. It is good to have a support system that encourages you, and helps you see the truth without making you feel bad.

One thing I lost sight of was the fact that God knows what it is like to see his son suffer. Many times during this period in our lives I have thought "God, why are you letting this happen? FIX THIS!!!! A good father would never let this happen to their child". I was so wrong. God has a plan for all of this, and I must rely on him to see it through to completion. I think times like this make me understand James better when he says in James 1:2-8 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.

God I believe that you have a plan and a purpose for all of this occurring in my sweet Xanders life. Please help me to be the type of Father/husband/man to help lead him to that understanding, whatever it may be or whatever it that may look like. I know that my life is being changed in ways I would never have imagined as a result of this, help me show him your goodness in all of this. Give me the proper words to say so that one day I may be able to explain all of this to him, and help me be the example he needs me to be. God help me lead my wife and three boys during these hard times, and in our victory may your name be praised.

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