It was so hard to watch the cancer eat away at my dad. It seemed to be happening so slow, yet so fast at the same time. The range of emotions I experienced I won’t even begin to list. But with everything going on, time and time again, seeing God reaching out to my father was such a faith strengthening and amazing experience.
I found the entire ordeal with my father to be something of a bittersweet experience. Watching him wither away right before my eyes, his body not working, his mind fading fast, and a fear in his eyes that a child never wants to see on their dad’s face… it was just heartbreaking. But in the midst of this sadness, watching God work, by softening my dad’s heart, so I could finally have a relationship with him before the end. My mom drawing close to God because of the pain…. the seemingly random and amazing ways both my wife and I have seen God reaching out to dad, offering His love and salvation… it is just mind blowing. These are just a few of the blessings that have come about because my dad got sick.
This is what we need to recognize and focus on in the midst of the chaos and pain in our lives. If we focus on the pain instead of God, the burden becomes too great. When our focus is on God, the pain is still there, but we are now able to see how God is using the situation for His purpose. And watching Him comfort, love and bless those affected by their trails takes the chaos out of the pain, and that gives us hope.
He is good, always. My prayer for all of us is that we will hold onto that truth and never forget.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”-Is 41:10
“Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you”.-1Peter 5:7
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” – Jer 29:11-13
God is not capable of failing us…. He will never grow tired of us and He will never leave us….Most importantly, He is absolutely, indescribably head over heels in love with us and there is nothing that we can do to change that. Whether we are serving or sinning He loves us exactly the same……His love never changes. (Ps 136:1-2, Rm 8:37-39)
What is my motivation?……
This question is one that we as followers of Christ must ask ourselves on a continual basis. Throughout scripture it is shown and then reinforced again and again that it is not merely a matter of what we do, but why we do it.
In Mark 12:41-44, Jesus explains why the widow, who gave her only two pennies was far greater in the eyes of God than the rich man who boastfully gave a much large sum of money in the synagogue during its busiest time so everyone would see him. In Matthew 6:1-4, Jesus gives a crystal clear caution to not announce when we do good in the hopes of casting the spotlight on ourselves. We are told to let the world see our good deeds but so God can be glorified, not us,
……humility and sacrifice, in faith. Both birthed and sustained; by with and through Love.
I don’t share this to preach at anyone, because I share this from my own sinful heart, my own experience, vulnerability and brokenness…. none of us are immune to our pride and I will be the first to admit my weakness. But we must remain vigilant when it comes to our motives.
When I write a piece like this or I am feeling led to proclaim something; whether it be in a small group, Jesus Culture concert or to the person sitting right next to me. I have to ask myself;
“Do I want God to be heard, or myself?” “Am I writing this piece because I haven’t posted in awhile and needed something, or is Holy Spirit truly pulling at my heart over the importance of sincerity over works to the point where I had to share?”
All God ever wanted…. all He will ever want from us is to love and trust Him….
Try to imagine loving someone with everything that You are. I am talking a love that cannot be put into words. Now imagine if that person was only nice, helpful, respectful and loving towards you when other people were around to see it so people would think good of them?…..
We must search our hearts daily because our hearts are easily deceived by our pride if we are not vigilant. One scripture comes to mind that encapsulates this truth perfectly so I will close with it, 1 Cor 13: 1-7;
“If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.”
Be the blessing; love well, love often and love furiously, in Jesus name.
Written by: Justin Ludwig