It’s a long post, but I ask/urge you to read it to the end
This may offend some of you. I won’t say I don’t care b/c that would be adolescent. And while I didn’t have a politically correct attitude when I was younger (high school) when I truly didn’t care if someone was offended by something I did or said, I can still say that I don’t care in the sense that I won’t mince or hold back words for fear of offending someone.
It seems the media, maybe even back to crazy ol’ college days (when it was more my actions and personality that may have offended as opposed to what I merely said) made me softer than I care to admit, not willing to take the next step in conversation.
But after 6 treatments of chemotherapy, my last one 3 weeks ago, I have rarely felt this low, had pain and aches in my legs and feet, total lack of energy, and the complete inability to sleep which is making me crazy. I thought by now I’d be on my way to being able to complete a full day without having to breathe heavily walking up stairs. This isn’t the case. In fact, some of the past few days have been some of the worst while on the treatment, and I’ve had a foley catheter in and separately couldn’t walk for 2 days while in Newton Hosp. And this week, to be 100% out there and honest, I’ve not only not cared about living, I’ve thought about dying and what I could do to speed along the process. Fleeting thoughts, maybe, but still thoughts. I get how one can no longer stand the pain (emotional, physical) anymore and feel like there is nothing left to live for. But I remember my contstant, and I remember it for all of you.
I bought over 10 years ago called Wrestling with God. It features 10 former pro wrestlers who either grew up as Christians and walked away from their faith, getting sucked into the wrestling lifestyle of drugs, alcohol, and marital infidelity, and they came back, or those who simply found Christ in the midst of their careers. Whatever the case, I chose to re-read this b/c it was light and I needed I distraction, and I still love wrestling!
The last two chapters I read featured, for those of you who know, Tully Blanchard and Hector Guerrero (Eddie’s bro). The former’s seemed to get my fire revved up again. In high school, I often spoke of my Christian faith, probably ad nauseum for some, I can think of a couple ppl. who despised me for it, while many others respected me for it. I’ve lost that straight forward nature of presenting the truth of who God is in Christ, of why we need Christ to save us (b/c we’re sinners), and of the freedom we encounter once Christ is our Savior. I try to live out Christ through my example but often wonder if those around me get why I am who I am, for all my faults and strengths.
Blanchard said, “It is a humbling thing to share the Gospel with anyone and know that God has called you to do it…it doesn’t matter how bad you’ve messed up. If you allow Christ to fix it, he will.” He’s still fixing me right now from this cancer.
But that’s why I think this might be the greatest lesson I needed to learn from my disease, the ability and desire, again, to preach to my friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintances the truth in Christ and how that truth (as cheesy as it may sound) will set you free.
Also, b/c I’ve had the thought several times that hell can’t be much worse than what I’m feeling now, and if hell is anything life this, I don’t want anyone I care about headed there; I want them in heaven with God. We each have a vision of hell, mostly with fire and suffering, Hell, really, is the absence of God, I think dark and lonely and crying out in despair, the Bible says there will be much “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Does any of us want to live in a place without God?
Guerrero’s chapter closed with him quoting Benny Hinn, “‘ Preach the Gospel, and He’ll take care of the rest’ “. Guerrero then says, “I’m going to preach the Gospel.” It’s kinda like the final nail of what I needed to hear. I’m going to preach the Gospel, be more bold in simply speaking to people, not bashing them with a Bible, never doing that, but being humble, honest, and truthful. It is the truth, and it seems I’ve lost sight of these simple things after becoming so “educated” and “mature.”
We, each of us, you reading this now, needs Jesus. He said he came to “give life to the full.” I think, in the world we live in, with it’s continual miseries and struggles (Hello, look at my past 6 months!), each of us wants life to the full. It may seem ironic that I’m saying this as this point b/c I feel so lousy, but I’ve been through difficult times before; difficult doesn’t cut it, I was completely broken as a person, and God led me through, and at the end, I was such a better man for it and I’m thankful for it now. That was 8 years ago, so it’s not like I’ve had constant brokenness, and it was for a short time. So, I know, as much as I can’t see it now, God is leading me through this. Psalm 23 reads
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Following God can be tough, but since most of us believe in God anyway, why not go full bore with him. If’ God’s there and he’s gonna do it anyway, I wanna be totally on his side.
And the only way to be totally on his side is to accept Christ as your Lord and Savior, to Believe in Jesus Christ. In speaking to Peter, Jesus asked him, “You, who do you say I am?” It is a question we all have to answer. And it isn’t infant baptism, or finishing communion b/c mom and dad made you, it doesn’t matter if you’re gay or straight, went to church you’re whole life or never a day, Jesus went to the cross for you, to die for you. How many people would die for you?… Jesus did, because he loves you more than you ever know and he loves you just as you are, he created you, amazing in itself, and he wants to free you, from whatever it is (ultimately sin) that is binding you.
We may think life is always miserable (I think that often lately b/c of how I feel), we may think life is pointless, merely a humdrum of daily routine, but there is one thing that is more constant than anything we can construe in our minds and hearts, that is Christ. He was there in Genesis while God created our world and he’s still here waiting for each of us.
We may ask where is God, esp. when times are tough or we see natural disasters wreaking havoc over the world. He is here for you. Jesus said, “I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him and eat with him, and he with me.” Simple. It requires no doing on our part. We cannot save ourselves through any type of work we do (The book of Ephesians makes that clear), so open the door, invite Jesus in, believe in Him and change your life.
Love and Blessings,