Monday, August 13

Wrestling and Imploring

I woke up about thirty minutes ago (It's 3:50am MST) and there is a great pain in my body. Since Friday I think it's been getting worse and frankly it's been weighing on my mind a little more than normal. I used to take my cough/pain medication to deal mainly wth the cough and then up it around chemo time to keep the pain at bay... the past few days I have been taking it less for the cough and more for the pain.

I've spent the last thirty minutes or so praying and doing what some might consider "wrestling with God"... but that would imply I had any strength with which to do that. I am reminded of Jacob in Genesis 32:22. Several things stick out to me in this, Jacob didn't go down without a long fight (all night!), and in the end God (again) blessed Jacob. There was tenacity there in Jacob's spirit, he wouldn't let go, and God honored that.

I was thinking that with my lack of strength though that what I am doing is more like one of the many petitioners to Jesus when he was healing the sick. In many ways I feel more like the leaper in Mark 1:45, "imploring" God to heal me. I don't know what that leaper had to go through, but from everything I have read on leapers in that time period it wasn't easy. There was a fight, he sought God and asked that he would change the course his life was heading.

A question came to mind this morning as I was praying and frankly it's been really hard to deal with, and I want to share it with you. I've said before that there is never any one "why" to this kind of situation I'm in. To think there is only one answer for why I have been given cancer is kind of shallow, and lacking in an understanding of how God uses people. This leads up to the question that I feel like God brought to mind this morning: "If continuing to be sick meant that more people could come to understand more deeply and personally about God, would you really be so selfish as to want to be healed?"

I know the "right" answer to that question. But saying yes and asking God to use me HOWEVER He wills, is a lot closer to my open wound than simply asking God to heal it and for me to "move on". Do I have a rare disease that few people will ever hear about, much less get? Yes. Do I want to use that opportunity to tell people what God has done for me? Yes. But where am I drawing the line? "Ok God, five years of cancer. It's been a great run, I've got some great stories, and you've really inspired some people through me. We're finished with this and can move onto something else now right?" It's the "I'll go this far and no more" mentality.

Some of my co-workers whom I look up to have served God in other countries, and in difficult situations for the past 20 or more years. How is this any different?

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