11/15/11 – This was my last weekend on vacation from PCC so as a family we ventured out to a church north of FW that is led by a good friend. We found ourselves engaged in the worship and listening intently to the message.
As always Laura took copious notes detailing every verse referenced and grabbing hold of those nuggets of truth designed to carry her through the day.
We were both reminded in Luke 6:46-49 of the importance of building a strong and firm foundation so that when the storms come the house will stand.
“”Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation of rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”
Certainly our storm is upon us, and we are determined that the house will stand and the foundation will become even stronger through this.
Over the years we have worked diligently both independently as well as a couple to build on a solid foundation. Our marriage has been based on a covenant and not a contract. We both committed to love, cherish, honor, remain faithful in richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, and to death do we part. Neither one of us have ever questioned our vows or made light of them. If anything, I believe we have worked extremely hard to honor our promises, and the cancer does not minimize our commitment, if anything it reinforces such promises.
There have been some difficult times these past seventeen years when God took us through the fire to test us and refine us. Some of those moments have revolved around ministry challenges, relational difficulties, or conflict. We walked through some years of battling infertility, as well as the three-year wait for our China adoption process with Bella. Each one of those events in our lives became opportunities for God to demonstrate the depth of His promises and character to us. He has been faithful each step of the way.
Now we face cancer and the battle does not include just Laura and I. Our kids are very much a part of this battle. They pray for mom’s healing. Tonight they prayed for the doctors who are caring for mom, as well as the upcoming surgeries. Together we prayed that we would not grow distant from God, but that He would use this to take us deeper and reveal the depth of His character to each one of us.
Laura and I long to see our kids deeply impacted not only by our example, but also the example of those walking closely with us. We want them to see the beauty of the church coming alive before their eyes. We pray they will grow in their faith and understanding of the goodness of God in the midst of our suffering. In no way do we want them to turn bitter, but for all of us to become better as a result of this.
Our intent is for them to grapple with this.
We are doing our best to field their challenging questions and we both know that once treatments begin and surgeries commence that the physical evidence of the cancer will become evident to them all. This will be the time when the storm will potentially gain momentum and our home might feel a little more shaken. We have no doubt deeper questions will surface, and as they do we are going to work extremely hard to drive our three inquisitive minds back to the truth of God’s Word and His Character.
The cancer is compelling us (Laura and I) to go deeper in our faith in Christ. It is not pushing us away or causing us to distance ourselves from Him.
We are praying and longing for our children to experience the same. So we are giving room for questions. We are openly asking what each one of us are praying for as it relates to Laura and our family. Finally, we are praying opening and boldly that God would reveal Himself by addressing our prayers.
Today was a great example of how this all come to fruition.
I have not been to the office in three weeks and today we ventured into our all staff meeting. Our leadership team is so strong at PCC and the depth of concern has impacted Laura and I deeply. We brought the three oldest kids with us (Bella is so strongly opinionated these days that we felt it was best to find a safe place for her to play for a few hours – “thanks Jana Beck!”.)
Gordan facilitated the time by leading us in worship and then gathering the entire staff around us. He directed the prayer time by placing a little oil on each of our heads. When he came to Laura he was having a bit of a challenge getting the oil out of the small bottle he was using. He shook it a bit resulting in most of the oil making its way onto Sophia’s arm and leg. Her little arm was covered in oil! It provided a very funny moment for all of us, and cut the edge a bit.
Gordon did a fantastic job explaining that there is nothing magical in the oil for the kids, but that the Bible instructs those who are sick to allow the body of Christ to come around them, lay hands on them, anoint them with oil and pray.
It was truly a tender time for all of us as the staff began to pray over each one of the kids by name and then Laura and I. I have no doubt it etched a beautiful picture of the body of Christ in action in the minds of Dawson, Lydia and Sophia. They will remember this moment forever, and the way in which God enters into our storms by surrounding us with those who deeply love and care for us.
See, I am learning through this that when you come to God you have to take ALL of who He is and what He promises to do in our lives. This includes storms that do come our way. Storms not to destroy us, but to strengthen us.