There are two men that I know who cling to God in every circumstance. Life has been difficult for both of them. I have been thinking of them lately. The shift in my life because of cancer was dramatic. Thinking of life and death issues forces you to a place of sober reflection. It is a hard place to be. My friends both know that. Each of them has been suffering from a deadly disease for years. I cannot comprehend that really. My illness was a nuisance for several months…really about a year. To live with pain and the promise of death hanging over you cannot be easy in any way. Ongoing hardship is the fire in which character is built. How can anyone stay in that kind of fire for so long? Like Job’s friends, I think that it would be easy to curse God and die rather than to continually battle for each breath. Yet like Job, these men believe the words, “though he slay me, yet I will trust him.”
My friend Brian has a heart condition. I do not know the specific details other than that he should have been dead years ago. He has been “resurrected” too many times to count. He can tell you what it feels like to be in the presence of Jesus, because he has been there. His attitude could have been bitter to have been dealt this ailment at such an early age. He chose the positive instead. Not knowing the future causes us stress, but to not know if you will be alive tomorrow? That is a completely new level of trusting God for each breath. Brian has lived with that question each day, for years. Until recently, he was not a candidate for a heart transplant…but technology caught up with him. Yesterday he had a heart transplant. Today I heard that it is beating on its own. What a miracle that is! Imagine being shut up in your house for years, and suddenly being able to live a normal life. What a gift that will be! My prayers are with him and his wife as they embark upon this new journey of health.
My other friend has ALS…a terrible degenerative disease takes over your body slowly. Frank is in a wheelchair now, with a breathing machine. (By the way Frank, you kind of look like a jet pilot! 🙂 He has to have help to do most everything. He could choose to rage at God, but instead he worships him. A worship leader that lost his ability to play but still he leads worship…with his life. He creates worship CD’s with Christian music he picks custom for those of us that are in need. I listened to these CD’s during my chemo. He knows just the right songs for tough times. Even with his limited ability, he has found a way to create worship.
These two men are amazing. They have chosen to live fully despite the suffering. Depending on God to carry them is the source of their strength. They cannot be stopped from reaching out to others in need. It is the mark of Christ that is indelibly stamped in their hearts. When I complain about work, I need only to think of my friends. God smiles when he sees their lives, because they remind the rest of us what is important. They point us to him. You guys are a blessing!