Well, if you can't tell by the title, today has been a very long, crazy-go-nuts day. It began after a couple of hours of sleep at 4:26 this morning when my alarm went off. I stumbled out of bed, showered, debated on something to wear, bought a diet coke and headed to the hospital. The hospital wasn't for me, though, it was for my friend Lindsey, who, as of noon today had cancer. I say had because the doctors have said they got it all. Definite praise!
The surgery went off without a hitch, although I wasn't there for the finish as I had to go to work where everybody who's a punk and their brother decided to shop in the bookstore today. Have you ever wondered why, when at the worst times, things like that always seem to happen. Already stressed, I handled each situation with as much calm, love and peace I could muster.
My goal is not to complain in this, but to share some stuff God is teaching me through this. One is community. I know I harp on community a lot (some actually call me Mr. Community), but I think it's vital in a Christian community and that we have a skewed view of it in the modern church. That disclaimer aside, it was awesome to see so many people in the waiting room at the crack of dawn this morning to support Lindsey and each other at this time. And for every person there, there were ten or more not there who were praying their hearts out for the situation.
It is a beautiful thing to see the church at work, isn't it? Whether it is massaging the hands and feet of a friend who's facing serious surgery or holding the hand of a scared brother or sister, that's what the church is about. People and community. It's about believers exalting God together, doing life together, sharing their lives with each other, supporting each other and bringing others along side into this community of faith together(evangelism). Hearing and feeling everyone's prayers was a blessing not only to me, but every one close to the situation.
One such time was Tuesday night. Twelve of us (interesting number, huh?) gathered at Lindsey's apartment to hang out and before any of us left, we prayed. It was sweet time of prayer that covered so many gambits in relation to the surgery and everything. I totally felt the Spirit within that beautiful time and within each of my family (both old and new) gathered in that living room.
I'll go ahead and admit that there were times today I was nervous and even scared, but I knew God was in control and His peace flooded my spirit. I had faith and that was not my own, trust me. God gave me that faith in answer to prayers from family and friends.
This leads into the second thing I've pondered today. The hospital was actually for me, too. I don't mean that Norton Hospital was built for me literally, but this entire situation (Lindsey having the big "C"), has taught me a great deal about people, friendship and community. I'm not so arrogant to think that a dear friend was struck with cancer for that purpose, but what I am saying is that through this situation, God has taught me and others around many things.
One thing a very wise person said to me (i.e. Lindsey) this week was this, "Even though I'm the sick one...it's not about me. I'm not the only one going through this. Everyone--family and friends are enduring this with me". Wow! If I was in her position, I would be so self-centered. I'm the one with cancer! It's about me right now! Yet, Lindsey, in her love and wisdom, sees that it's not about her, but about God and about His church. We may not have had to go through the surgery, but we have gone through a lot of stuff as of late and God has been ever faithful to us. What an example she is!
So as this very long, crazy-go-nuts day comes to a close, let me say au revoir. Part of me prays to never see a day like this again, yet I see all the blessings that have resulted from it, and I see all the lessons God has taught all of us concerning prayer, community, faith and faithfulness, and their is this eager expectation of what God will accomplish through this in the not to distant future.
Another part of me knows this day will come again sometime in life. Suffering and pain are by-products of the fall. The enemy seeks to steal, kill and destroy, but our God uses those schemes of the enemy for His glory and for our growth. Until heaven, my friends, I'm afraid pain, sickness, and suffering will continue to "pull up a chair and wear out the welcome they never had".* So, instead of praying it never returns, perhaps I should pray God would strengthen us for that time of brokenness to come?
So...here's to that very long, crazy-go-nuts day! May you never come again, but if you do, Lord give us the strength, love, faith and peace to endure!
I do want to thank all of you who have been praying for my friend Lindsey and Lindsey's family and friends. God has answered your prayers in ways none of us could ever imagine. I think, though, He enjoys surprising us with things like that!
until Christ is formed in us...
*i haven't been myself lately, Emily Hall