Thursday, February 22, 2007

Broken crutches

Thursday night 2/22/07
ANDREW WRITES:

I feel a little crippled right now, not so much physically, but more mentally. After coming back from the doctor today Grace immediately ran back to UW for her writing class. I wanted her to go rather than stay home with me so that she could keep doing what she normally does. My mom, the kids and I had dinner and then I went into the room to rest.

I immediately found myself feeling so alone, and started to cry. To make a long story short, the doctor gave me the news I didn't want to hear. They believe the cancer did spread to the lymph nodes in my neck. They will be 100% sure next week when the pathology studies come back, but they are quite sure that it had spread, and that I'll need radiation. While I had my head between my knees weeping and fighting for joy the words that came to my mouth were, "For I know that my redeemer lives and I will stand with Him on that day."

Job says this in Job 29:25-27:
"As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,
And at the last He will take His stand on the earth.
Even after my skin is destroyed,
Yet from my flesh I shall see God;
Whom I myself shall behold,
And whom my eyes will see and not another.
My heart faints within me!


Close your eyes and imagine a person hobbling along a road with a pair of crutches. Strapped to his back is a large wooden chest full of many spare crutches for use whenever a crutch breaks. All along this road are little stands with ads and salesmen trying to sell the latest and greatest crutch.
"For just 5.999999 APR you can have the XZR Titanium crutch. It will make your journey smooth, enjoyable and fun."

And the road keeps getting bumpier and bumpier so the man hobbles along and his left crutch breaks, so he has to replace it with whatever is readily available. Then the right one breaks, then the left again...So this man leaves a trail of broken crutches behind him as he journeys along the bumpy road called life.

So the guy keeps hobbling along and keeps finding great deals on new crutches at all the stands he stops at. He's so excited that he even starts to hobble faster and faster trying to get to the next stand. Then just ahead he sees a funny red sign. As he hobbles up close he notices that it says "END".

I've been thinking about what my crutches are/were. What do I use to hold myself up with? What do I depend on to give me joy?

I'm looking around at my field of broken crutches and I'm finding that I'm not surprised that they're breaking. My dependence often lay in my health, money, prestige, my job, my wife, my kids, or even in being highly esteemed by others. God has blessed me in all these areas and each of them do bring me lots of joy. But what if these things are taken away, then where does the joy come from? What happens when the crutch breaks?

True joy is found in the truth behind why we even go down the bumpy road called life. What robs us of joy is continually worrying about crutches all the time.

So whats the point? To amass the largest storehouse of crutches? To get the best one? What happens when you get to the end of the road?

The bible as a whole teaches that the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. The whole point is to learn the truth and then learn to walk. It is not to pass the time being satisfied with mediocre joy until you get to the end. That's a wasted life.

Jesus spoke of this truth in John 8:31-32
"If you continue in my word then you are truly disciples of mine; and you will know the truth and the truth will make you free."

So we naturally ask, freedom from what? The truth will make you free from slavery to crutches. Slavery to the lusts of the eyes, the lusts of the flesh and the boastful pride of life. Slavery to the sin that permeates our very core.

Truth = Free = Joy
I still rely on crutches, and I still have a stash of them strapped to my back. But I'm learning to walk. The more I can understand the truth that my redeemer, Jesus Christ, lives, the more joy I can find. Jesus is God, was crucified for my sins, and He resurrected Himself and appeared to many people before ascending into heaven. This is the truth - that all my sins have been paid for by the sacrifice of the cross. I do not have to suffer punishment in eternity for my sins. So whatever bumps lie ahead will be okay, because it's okay if my crutches break. In fact, I want them to. Then I'll be forced to find my joy in the fact the my redeemer does live. He is the all-powerful God, and He knows me, and cares for me. And one day I will stand with Him.
Ps 71:23 "My lips will shout for joy when I sing praises to You;
And my soul, which You have redeemed."

So its been hard to see my crutches break one by one. It's been a painful battle thus far with cancer, but God has been faithful all my life thus far. He has been faithful to break my crutches, because He wants me to find a deeper joy in Him alone. This is true love. This is a good God.

Nobody knows the day or the hour when the little red sign will appear by the roadside. So let us all leave our crutches behind, and run to our Savior Jesus Christ for our joy and satisfaction in this life and the next.

Isaiah 55:6-7
Seek the LORD while He may be found;
Call upon Him while He is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
And let him return to the LORD,
And He will have compassion on him,
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon

2 comments:

  1. andrew, thank you for sharing your struggles and the lessons God has been teaching you through them. know that God is using your faith to encourage many and to bring Him glory!

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  2. Andrew, there are members of our church in Jacksonville praying for you and your family. We miss you guys and feel very blessed to know you and to pray for you. I know I have not suffered anywhere near the physical afflictions that your family is being refined by, but I just wanted to share a verse that ALWAYS encourages me every time I read it: "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."-Rev. 21:3-4. Praise God for the mercy He has shown us and the indescribably gifts He lavishes upon us. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

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