Musings on Christianity 17

Musings on Christianity 17

What Is The Good News?

Have you heard the good news? If you’re like me someone has approached you and asked you that question. Maybe you rolled your eyes and said you weren’t interested (like I did). Maybe you said that you have, and it’s great (like I did). Maybe you said no (like I did) and got several different versions of that news (like I did). Maybe if you were that last person, that made you wonder what the good news really was.

I’m quite sure that the few people who gave me their good news truly believed it was the good news. I’m sure one of them gave me the actual good news, but the fact that I received different news led me to doubt any of them were right.

Naturally, if you’re reading this, you may doubt that I know the answer to this question. For the record, I don’t know anything. This has nothing to do with my knowledge and my wisdom. Those are terrible references. This good news comes not from me, but from the Word of God.

Here’s a quick outline:

1) Man was dead in sin (Genesis 3).

2) The price of sin had to be paid. That price is blood, and the sacrifice must be of one who is without blemish (Deuteronomy).

3) Jesus Christ came from Heaven to Earth and died to pay that price (Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, and John 19).

4) Christ was raised from the dead, which broke the bonds of death and gave victory and justification for those who believe in Him (Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and John 20).

A brief tangent:

Notice how the good news takes us from the beginning of the Bible to the end. The Bible is the story of God and his work in the lives of humanity. To truly understand that work and understand God, one must read the whole thing.

That seems silly to have to say. If there was a movie out there one wanted to talk about, he’d watch the whole movie. If one wanted to talk about a book, they would see fit to read the book. Christianity (perhaps religion as a whole) is the only thing people seem to feel completely at liberty to discuss without actually understanding what it is. Why? I don’t have the answer. I have theories, but I honestly would like readers to look in themselves and ask, why am I so resistant to read this book before discussing it.

Now, there are those who say, “I’m not interested in reading it, and I don’t want to discuss it.”  As a mortal, rational thinker, I couldn’t really argue with you. If you aren’t interested, you aren’t. However, for those of you who find yourself saying, “Well I think this is who God is,” or, “To me, God is …,” I humbly request you spend some time with his own testimony about Himself. 

Tangent over.

I’ve actually already covered the first item on the list in great detail in Chapter 12. To review, a person may want to show they’re comparatively better than another mortal man, but compared to a perfect and Holy God, we fall short. We are not perfect. We have sinned. Our sin condemns us.

That’s not very good news. On its own, no. However, most of the best things happen in bad situations. To reword that, we feel the most joy when a situation turns out right when it looks like its could end at its worst. The good news starts with the fact that we needed salvation.

The second item on the list simply informs us of the price that must be paid to redeem one from sin. If none of us are perfect, none of us is able to pay the price. I discussed this in  Chapter 12 as well. The price had to be Christ. He had to endure all the pain and suffering we deserved in order for us to be redeemed.

That leads us to the good part of the good news. He did. Christ willingly came. God, because of his abounding love for us, sent His Son down to Earth to pay the price for our sins so that we could be saved. He died, and the price has been paid, once for all.

However, death, while the payment for sin, still isn’t quite as great as it could be. I mean, redemption from sin is the most important thing we could ever have, but like an old TV informercial, “Wait! There’s more!”

The resurrection of Christ is the defeat of death. This is how we can have faith that we will have perfect, bodily resurrection if we are indeed in Christ. His resurrection broke the bonds of death and guarantee our eternity when Christ returns. Again, our redemption is by grace and is wonderful in and of itself, but to be redeemed and guaranteed eternal life? That’s good news.

So why does the good news have to include these four elements? There are a few answers to this.

First, we have to understand how much we need Christ. According to a 2003 poll conducted by the Barna Research Group in Oxnard, California, two-thirds of Americans believe they will go to Heaven, implying they believe in such a place. Of that number, which, according to the survey holds from the previous decade, half of them believe they will go to Heaven because they can earn it by good deeds. 

This is why I needed Chapter 12. Without a clear understanding of why we needed salvation, we can’t possibly appreciate Christ’s glorious gift.

Second, these four things together complete the news. This is something I do know. I teach it for a living. Any news story has four essential elements: The who, the what, the when and the where. The why and how give us context. So any time we can get all six elements, we can be assured the audience has complete understanding.

If this were a story one of my students had to write, the good news would read something like: “Jesus Christ died on the cross in the First Century A.D. in Jerusalem to pay the price for the sins of humanity and was raised three days later for humanity’s justification.”

Where is the how element? I usually tell students to save that for what’s called the bridge of a news story: “Christ, the only perfect, blameless human in all of existence, was the only person able to pay for the sins of humanity as God’s own perfect passover lamb.”

This is basic news principles used to explain what the good news and why one needs it in its entirety to understand it.

The last reason the good news has to include these elements is that it gives us our hope and the assurance that our hope is possible. We hope in eternal life. To simply say that Christ was raised from the dead is cool, but I can name at least two people who never actually died (Elijah and Enoch). I can name another few who were raised from the dead (Jairus’ daughter and Lazarus).  There are more, but I can actually name those two. Jesus was also raised. However, only Christ died and lived again. He did so and never died a second time (Lazarus the Jairus’ daughter did).

This is significant because if Christ could die for all of our sins, then his resurrection is also ours if we believe in Him. Think about it. As our substitutionary sacrifice, he paid the price we couldn’t pay. So His resurrection, His eternal life, can also be ours.

To forget about Christ makes the equation invalid. Without Him, we don’t have the proper payment for our sin. Without Him, we only have at best a second batch of years until we die again.

The problem comes when people know Heaven exists, but they want to find other ways to get there. Here is where everything comes to simple binary logic. A person either believes they are perfect and they can impress a perfect and holy god with some perfunctory acts of service, or a person realizes they are not perfect and they can’t do a darn thing to impress a perfect and holy god.

We can dress that binary math up any way we want, but it all comes down to one of those thoughts. I’m obviously of the latter mindset. This book is my attempt at a reasonable way to express that. When I break it down to those two, it can seem cold, but sometimes people need to be confronted with the choice they’re making. For those who don’t believe in a Heaven, there’s no real point in debating how to get there.  So this chapter provides a foundational look at the doctrine of salvation.

Research data pulled from this article.

For our panel: If we decide to accept the good news, how do we move forward? In your experience, what causes people to resist accepting the good news? How should one respond to hearing other interpretations of that good news? Why are those other interpretations dangerous?

Sonnets For My Savior 14

Sonnets For My Savior 14

Because of His Grace

I was trapped by by sin.

I was lost and without hope.

I hid the pain deep within.

I was buried with more loneliness than I with which could cope.

No amount of money could bring me joy.

No amount of fleshly pleasures could bring me gladness.

Despite all of the effort I did employ,

nothing worked, I was still lost in sadness.

I questioned why he continued to deny me.

I questioned why he let me experience such pain.

Then His grace showed me what I couldn’t see.

Without Him, my life was in vain.

When I sought his grace, He made me new.

His grace saved me, and it can save you too.



Our God remains faithful though we are faithless.

He cannot deny himself.

Even though our sins are countless,

He does not lie or change, nor will He slander himself.

He doesn’t tempt us beyond our ability,

He provides a means of escape for every temptation.

While He rules with unquestioned sovereignty,

His grace is sufficient for us and worthy of veneration.

His word is upright,

and His love never ends.

Even as the morning comes after every night,

His great reliability never bends.

He is just, upright, and without iniquity,

and His faithfulness abounds despite our impurity.


Adam and Jesus

His obedience

to counter his defiance.

His deference

to counter his noncompliance.

Adam’s rebellion was the root of our sin,

so Jesus’ submission became our salvation.

Because of the first man, evil lies within,

but through Christ, we each become a new creation.

Adam’s sin led him to hide,

but Jesus sought His father when His time drew near.

Adam tried to cast his guilt aside,

but Jesus, without guilt, had nothing to fear.

Adam’s trespass resulted in condemnation,

but Jesus’ act of righteousness resulted in justification.


Your Will

We accept Your Son as our Savior,

for you gave us the gospel, and we have heard it.

We seek Your word with great fervor

and ask that you fill our hearts with Your Spirit.

Let us be sanctified,

so that we might be more like Your Son.

Let our previous, selfish temptations be denied,

and let only Your will be done.

Let us submit to Your law, Your church, and the leaders you’ve appointed over us.

Let our hearts be like a servant most humble.

We understand that some might punish or persecute us,

so we glorify You, Lord, for we suffer but trust that your grace won’t let us stumble.

Let Your will live in the hearts of women and men,

for You are our God now and forever, Amen.


His Miracles

He made the leper clean.

He healed the centurion’s servant with a word.

He healed many, just as the prophet had foreseen.

He healed Peter’s mother-in-law, and she began to serve him after that occurred.

He calmed a storm.

He cast out demons.

Many great works did he perform

to show authority in his sermons.

He helped a paralytic to his feet,

and brought life to the dead.

He healed a woman on the street,

He never failed to do a single thing he had said.

The Son of God did all these wonderful things,

but the greatest work is the salvation that He brings.


His Favorite Method

He worked through David to make Goliath fall.

He worked through Moses to set the Israelites free.

He healed the sick through the mere handkerchiefs that touched Paul.

He worked through Elisha to help a crippled woman earn money.

He worked through Sampson to bring the house of the Philistines down.

He worked through Elijah to burn the captains and their host.

For Joshua the sun and moon stood still, and this increased the army’s renown.

Look at all the miracles, and how He performed them most.

Through Peter, he strengthened a man’s legs and feet.

Through Isaiah, he killed the Assyrian king in his own land.

Many a wondrous deed did our Lord, God, complete,

but he didn’t do them simply by his own mighty hand.

Indeed for most the wonders and tasks we have seen Him do,

have come through his servants, people just like me and you.


The Provider

He made bread rain down from the sky.

He used a log to sweeten Marah’s waters.

To those who are faithful, his is faithful and does not deny.

His generously gives to all his sons and daughters.

He is our provider.

With him, we never want for anything.

Even to Ruth, a Moabitess outsider,

He provided a redeemer, and made her a matron of the king.

He provided for Elijah in the wilderness.

He blessed Abraham with an heir.

Praise be to God for his love and kindness.

Blessed is he who gives when we are in despair.

If ever one doubts how loving and giving is He.

Simply look at the world He gave us; it’s there for all to see.

Testimony: My Trial of Faith as My Mom Struggled With Cancer Part 20

Testimony: My Trial of Faith as My Mom Struggled With Cancer Part 20

See Part 1 here.

See Part 2 here.

See Part 3 here.

See Part 4 here.

See Part 5 here.

See Part 6 here.

See Part 7 here.

See Part 8 here.

See Part 9 here.

See Part 10 here.

See Part 11 here.

See Part 12 here.

See Part 13 here.

See Part 14 here.

See Part 15 here.

See Part 16 here.

See Part 17 here.

See Part 18 here.

See Part 19 here.


The Appointment

My sister, mother, and I loaded ourselves into the car. We got to the hospital, and my sister took us to get some blood work for Mom first to make sure we didn’t get slowed down in case they wanted more recent results than we’d had.

It was actually a quick process. We were in and out before I could finish a game of Sudoku. We then walked around to the actual treatment area.  We got to the desk, where they informed us the copay for this treatment would be somewhere around $300.

I confess this to you all: I was standing there with my mom, who had cancer, and when they listed that price, I worried.  What a horrible thing! I worried about the money I’d already spent flying down, the money it cost to fly back up, and I even worried about this ring I had planned to buy.

I asked if the copay was required before treatment.  I asked if my father could pay it at a later time.  Here I was balking at a few hundred dollars.  It wasn’t until the woman at the counter said it wasn’t an issue that I felt the shame. How dare I? How dare I think of myself and my bank account in a situation like this.

Strangely, that shame was quickly followed by a thought.  God always provides. What am I worried about? I wondered.

Here I am, still under the belief that God can cure my mom of cancer, but he can’t make sure I have money to do things?  What a ludicrous thought.  I’m not saying people should just spend willfully without thought or sense to a budget.  But we should always give to those in need.  I say again, the Bible is quite clear on this. We should give freely to those in need.

“You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake,” Deuteronomy 15:10.

For those who want to argue the conflict between the Old and New Testament, let’s look at what the New Testament says on the matter:

“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work,” Corinthians 9:6-8.

I paid the money, and I still feel ashamed for how I let my thoughts dwell on the aforementioned, selfish wants I had at a time like this. This event taught me something: I’m not a cheerful giver.  I used to be. When my circumstances were better, and I had a generous amount of money in my bank account, I gave freely without a single worry in my mind.

Since I’ve transitioned and pumped a ton of money into my dream to be a published author, I’m less secure. Now, I do and give, having to remind myself that God always provides. Here’s some more fuel to this fire. I never think about money when I go to a movie. I eat at the same restaurant every Friday. I buy caffeinated beverages whenever I struggle to stay awake.

I’ve made it my new goal to remember the man I was when I was much better off because God will always provide. I’m not rich, but I’m blessed already because I’m probably still a bit more stable than some other people I know because I’ve always tried to live far below my means. Once I climb out of the debt I’m in, I think I’ll be even more stable.

The point isn’t that I paid. The point isn’t that I did the right thing or even that I did it because I knew it was right. The point is that I wasn’t a cheerful giver. I felt the temptation to horde and cling, and that was an alarming realization.

After we paid the fee, my sister called our dad to let him know we were about to begin. Mom overheard and finally realized what had happened.

She’s hard to understand these days. What I remember about that conversation is how mad she was. “They’re liars,” she said.  “I’m done!”

That got my attention. My sister and I talked to Mom together to explain that nothing had changed.  We still intended for her to get the treatment, meet with the cancer team, and then get back to Yuma as soon as my father could finish up the work at the house.

We let her know that we weren’t worried about the money.  That calmed Mom down, and shortly after that, she was in the treatment center getting her first dose of the new treatment plan.

I met with the liaison during the treatment. It was my only chance to get a medical opinion on where things stood. She was the one who told me no matter what the problem or issue since that last visit to the emergency room, this treatment would address it.

She even did something I felt thankful for. My flight left right in the middle of everything. She told me my sister could put me on speaker phone so I could listen in on the meeting.

Therefore, after I said my goodbyes and got through airport security, I waited for my sister to call and let me listen in. It was a bit of a relief having everyone able to ask questions or make comments. Our first worry was the possible effect this treatment might have on my mom, and the team (through one person I think is the liaison), told us there weren’t any immediate concerns with this treatment. My mind shifted then to the plan.

“So we’re going to do a treatment. Then Mom can go home until it’s time for the next treatment (about two weeks apart).  We’ll do three treatments before we check on the tumor again.”

The doctors confirmed that was the plan.

I flew home, and the first thing I did when I got back was send a text. Mom seemed fine.  The next day, Mom seemed a bit more mobile and clear.

Things looked well for the next few weeks, but the trial wasn’t over, and things were about to take another turn.


Questions and Revelations


You seriously thought about not paying?

If I’m being nice to myself, what I was looking to do was verify if I was the one who had to do it. I was a coward who’d seen a wolf creeping up on the sheep. I’d be willing to fight it off, but only if there weren’t any other options. I do this far more than I feel I should. Oh, something has to be done? Can anyone else do it? Can anyone else bear this burden I don’t want to bear. I mean, sure, I’ll do it if I can’t find anyone else, but I’d really rather someone else handle it.

This is why I find myself remembering that God sent his son to die for my sins.  Jesus, willingly sacrificed himself for my sins.  They didn’t balk and look around hoping someone would come along and grant us salvation.  They didn’t even discuss it.

They did what they did out of endless, joyful love for us. So why complain or balk when any ask for something that isn’t, “Hey, would you mind dying for my sins?”

At this point, I still have to remind myself. When I feel doubt, I tell myself, “God always provides.”

Did God provide?

Yes! I’m fine! I even bought that ring I mentioned. Heck, I bout a freaking Kindle (the lowest-priced one). What the heck was I worried about? The answer was simple. I had, and I didn’t want to have less. What a selfish, sinful thought.

We all face this from time to time, and I don’t want anyone to think it wasn’t at least something to give. I’m of the opinion that those who do give, even begrudgingly, are still blessed. However, I don’t think those blessings are as great as those who give cheerfully.  I’m glad I paid the money. I just feel thankful that I’ve come to realize how miserly and selfish I have become.

Don’t just give when you have so much more to give. Don’t be generous at just those times in which you have so much to give you honestly don’t  know what to do with the rest. If I have $2, and someone needs one, I’ll give it.  Currently, I’ll have to remind myself not to worry. I’ll have to remind myself not to be selfish.  I aspire to simply give without any thought or worry at all. This is what I ask others to pray for at this point. Pray that I have a cheerfully generous heart. I give because I know it’s right, but I want to be happy when I do it. I want to do it without “hoping” or “wondering” if “God’s going to take care of me.”

That leaves me to what I want to conclude with.  I think a lot of people know this verse: “The lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”

Until quite recently, I had been reading that to mean. “The Lord is my leader, but I don’t really want to be led.”  I thought it was a statement on the hardened hearts of people and how they resist. I thought it was a reminder that we should want to be led.

Well, that’s true.  We should want to be led.  But I’ve seen a few other translations, and I want to share that with you all.

“The Lord is my shepherd; I will never be in need.” That’s from the Contemporary English Version.

But you said the Bible is accurate!

What I said was the Bible was accurately transcribed. From Greek text to Greek text, through the generations, the Bible is remarkably accurate. Translation is a different matter.  This is why reading other translations of the Bible. (New International version, King James Version, New American Standard Bible (which I plan to buy when I read the Bible again) are those I think should be compared from time to time.) I’d love to learn Greek one day so that I can read the New Testament in it’s Greek.  For now, I tend to listen to John MacArthur audiobooks, where he explains some of the Greek words and their connotations.

Back to my point. For the longest time I had a negative view on the lesson from Psalm 23:1.  The message isn’t that we should trust in God even if we don’t want to. It’s that we should trust in God because if we do, we will have all we need.

I’m seeing it in my life now. I’ve seen it before. I’m not over this hump. I’m of the option that there are two major sins I want to sanctify from my life at this point: the sin of pride, and the sin of worry.

Yes, worry is a sin. Jesus tells us in a plain, direct command not to worry.

These two sins of mine, these thorns in my flesh, cause me to grumble at work when I think I’m doing more than others. They cause me to lament giving money (I didn’t say loan). They cause me to be selfish with my time.

I’ve come to the belief that these bad habits are rooted in my sins of pride and worry. My current plan? Humble myself, and give. My intent is to start looking for tasks to do. I’m not worried about which of my coworkers is doing what. Ok, I am, but my efforts are in the spirt that if I keep doing this, I’ll improve.

To be clear, my actions are correct, but only God can cleanse these sins from me, and I ask that those reading this pray for him to do so. Free me from my pride and worry so that I might do the work of my hands and give cheerfully.  The actions I’m taking are to give me the opportunity, so that when God calls, I find myself answering by doing that which I know I’m supposed to do and find joy in doing so.

If you have other questions regarding my faith or thoughts or actions at this point, feel free to ask, and I’ll add them to the blog.  I try to ensure these passages are self reflective. My chaplain told me to take this opportunity to look at myself, but at the moment, those were the only real thoughts going through my mind. Questions might help me remember other thoughts or parts of The Bible I’d overlooked while typing this post.

Thanks for reading


Testimony: My Trial of Faith as My Mom Struggled With Cancer Part 2

Testimony: My Trial of Faith as My Mom Struggled With Cancer Part 2

See Part 1 here.

The Morning After

“They found a tumor in my mom.”

It’s only seven words long. There’s only one word in that sentence with more than one syllable (two). I’m a trained broadcaster who has appeared on news shows during my time aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69).

None of that mattered. Each time I tried to get that phrase out, I broke into tears before I could finish.

I stumbled into work exhausted. I saw my command chaplain first. Then my boss saw me and asked how I was. I’d been sick the week before, but I knew he had to know what was going on. My boss offered to tell my team, but I’d made a promise to God. I promised God that I’d testify, and I knew I had to start with the people with whom I work.

I was so happy to hear that this tumor was operable. I was so grateful to God for making this a situation that could be handled. None of that changed how much it hurt to know the woman who raised me was going to have brain surgery. None of that changed how much it hurt to be in that position to begin with.

But I made a promise to God.

I’d sent a message via our team group chat. Everyone showed up to meet me and hear what I had to say. Even my chief and senior chief were there. I had to say the words again.

“They found a tumor in my mom.”

I couldn’t do it.  Even as I’m typing this, it’s hard to do, and if I had to say it out loud, I still doubt I could do it.”

“I promised God that I’d testify about this,” I said. “I don’t want this to be about how bad it is. I want it to be about praising.”

I’m not honestly sure how intelligible the comments were. I wept through the entire thing, trying as hard as I could to show how grateful I was to God for making this problem one that could be managed.

“They’re going to go in and take it out,” I said. “It’s small. They can fix it, and I want to thank God for making that possible.”

I pulled it together for a few more minutes to explain what was happening. I also made it clear that what I needed most was to focus on work. I’m not a doctor. My mom had more than enough support and loved ones already there with her. There was nothing for me to do.

My mom has taken care of me my whole life, and in that moment, I was powerless to do anything. When I feel that way, and I have before, what I need is something I can do. I had assignments to grade, so that gave me something, anything to focus on other than this surgery.

I finished telling everyone what was going on, and one of my coworkers came and gave me a hug. That was it. I didn’t have any more strength. I must have wept like a child for a solid three minutes. I’m positive I covered the shoulder of her outfit in tears. I couldn’t do it. She held me up as my other coworkers came to offer me a pat on the back.  I needed the outlet. I needed those three minutes to feel the sadness I was trying desperately to hold in.

On one hand, I was just trying to be strong. I wanted to be focused. On the other hand, I didn’t want to give the impression that I didn’t still believe God would see this through. I knew it then, and I still know it even now as I type this. I wanted to show this calm demeanor that reflected my certainty that God was with us, but I was a boy who’d just learned his mom was going to be operated on.

To give a bit more scope, I’m arrogant. I’d frequently told my friends how long-lived my family is. I’d say, “I know I’m going to see 80.”  Before that phone call the day before, I had no doubt. My mom is 69 as I type this. I didn’t think I’d have to worry about anything for at least another 10 years. A part of me thinks, This is what I get for thinking I know how things will go.

I eventually pulled myself together. I took a deep breath and said, “I’m going to grade some students.”

I grabbed my students’ folders and headed off to the room in which I could grade. My coworkers were amazing. They didn’t talk about it. They didn’t ask how I was. They didn’t ask how she was. Every time my phone buzzed, I’d look at it to see what was happening, and they’d just keep working. They gave me a sense of normalcy. Listen, no one is perfect. I’m sure I annoy each of them at least as much as they frustrate me now and then. We have differences of opinion. But that day, their ability to work like it was any other day allowed me to pretend it was.

Then I got another text.

“They can’t remove the whole thing without hurting her.”

I walked in that morning certain that there was this small tumor in my mom that they’d “yank out like a thorn” and move on.  They were working on the swelling. They wouldn’t be able to operate until later that evening.  However, they’d pull what they could out, do some tests, and handle the rest after that.

I was still confident it would work out, but it wasn’t going to be over quickly.


Questions and Revelations

I thought you said God would fix it?

He will. And Oh boy did I want him to fix it in one day. A year from now I’d sit with my Mom while playing cards and say, “Hey, remember that night you got that tumor? Yeah, that was a real tough night. Wasn’t it cool they just plucked it out and called it a day?” Thing is, God doesn’t work on anyone but God’s schedule. At this point in this trial, I kept thinking about the Israelites from Exodus to Deuteronomy. I’d just read those books of The Bible, so it was fresh. God pulls these people out of Egypt. They were slaves, crying out for salvation. God heard them and performed miracle after miracle to bring those people out of Egypt. About three chapters later, they’re already complaining. “Why did we leave Egypt if we weren’t going to have food? Why did we leave Egypt if we weren’t going to have water?” They were promised a land of milk and honey, and they wanted that land now.

Like I said, I’d just read those books, so all the information was pretty fresh. Something told me complaining to God about his schedule was a bad idea. Each time the Israelites complained or turned away, they were made to wait.  Heck, even Moses was never actually allowed to set foot on the promised land.

I figure some might argue, “What a petty God. He punishes his people just for complaining.”

He rewards faith, and punishes doubt and distrust. At least, that’s my interpretation. Also, these people were slaves, but they want to turn away from the God who saved them from that life to return to slavery just because they have to stay in the desert a few months and build some stuff? That sounds like some pretty petty people to me.

Think about it. Do you have children? Did you ever give your kid some candy? What did you do if that kid then complained he or she wanted a different candy or that the candy given wasn’t big enough or as big as a sibling’s candy? Well, if you’re me, and you saw a kid complain about what it was given, you took it. Ask my little sister and every nice and nephew I have. Complain that what you have isn’t good enough, and watch me take that. Now said person understands that what they have is something that should be appreciated.

Maybe you’re a better parent/uncle than I am. Maybe you found some way to help the child see how what they have is better than what others have. (For the record, I’m not saying I went straight for yanking said candy (or other gift) away,  but I got there eventually.) But I’ve done it, and I’ve seen it happen. Yes, God is far better and far more effective, but I’ve always considered him my Heavenly Father. He raises me to be the man I should, and if I get selfish or over demanding, he shows me just how much I already have.

If I’m being honest, I’m less afraid of him taking my mom if I lament this trial than I am concerned that I want to show God how much faith I have in him. That morning, I committed to the idea that, “The harder this gets, the more I’ll believe, and the more I’ll praise him.”

Is it wrong of me to have wanted this over quickly?

I don’t think so. I’m human. I don’t like this feeling. I don’t like worrying. I don’t like being afraid. I aspire to reach a point in my faith where I can truly just let go of my troubles and trust God. I’d like to get there one day, but I’m not nearly there right now. I’m a worrisome, control-oriented person. I believe that to change, one must do. I believe that there’s always something to do to make a situation better. Maybe what I’m learning right now is sometimes there isn’t a choice. Sometimes you’re powerless, weak and out of things to do. So have faith.

Frankly, this is hard for me. The faith part isn’t so hard. I still firmly believe this is all going to work out. I still have faith it’ll happen.

But what am I going to do about it? How am I going to fix it?

Nothing. I’m not. God will. He’ll work through doctors and medicine, but this is in his hands, and I don’t like feeling powerless. I honestly look forward to the day I think, It’s fine. God will handle it, and then I sit back and let him.

I’m not saying people should just sit around waiting for God to fix their problems. I’m currently trying to struggle to balance the concept of free will with God’s plan. I don’t have any answers. My current theory is God provides opportunity. Sure, he’ll part the Red Sea, but he worked through Aaron (he actually thrust the staff down; the movie lied). But he didn’t just teleport the Israelites to the promised land. They had to journey there. They had to cross the sea, trusting God would protect them.

I’m reading the Stormlight Archive. It’s wonderful, and in it there’s this ideal. Journey before destination. If God had just teleported them, what would they have learned? I mean, they were already complaining about their situation; imagine what they would have said if they realized they had to conquer their promised land if they hadn’t have gone through what they did during that journey?

Yes, I would have greatly appreciated a few bad nights and then it would be over. But already I’m learning. I’ll talk about some examples in future editions, but I’d already mentioned Carlie. She’s grown more now as a woman and a person than I’d ever seen her grow. I won’t pretend to know her mind or opinion, but I think she’d rather grown in less painful circumstances, but I came to rely on her so much in those first three days. The circumstances we learned that fact in were terrible, but knowing how much I can count on her is equally encouraging. The journey is what changes us. I hope my journey will end soon, but for now, all I can do is take the next step, trusting God will be with me.

So what did you do while you waited?

I went to Trivia night with my friends and my girlfriend. Why? Because that’s what I do on Wednesday nights. Normalcy is precious to me. The more afraid or confused I get, the more I seek my routine for comfort. I was surrounded by friends, and just like at work, they weren’t reminding me of the thing I was trying very hard to trust God to handle.

How afraid were you?

At that point, I was still pretty hopeful it would be over quickly. I was worried. But even now my faith is unchanged. The concern is there. The pain is real. I’m just hopeful that my faith and trust in God are more apparent than my concern and hurt. I won’t pretend they don’t exist, but I don’t want them to be the focus of my attention.


If you have other questions regarding my faith or thoughts or actions at this point, feel free to ask, and I’ll add them to the blog.  I try to ensure these passages are self reflective. My chaplain told me to take this opportunity to look at myself, but at the moment, those were the only real thoughts going through my mind. Questions might help me remember other thoughts or parts of The Bible I’d overlooked while typing this post.

Thanks for reading