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I’m a thinker…

I’m one of those people that process life internally and spend much of my time thinking through issues while others may speak their thoughts aloud. I confess that I often keep my thoughts to myself because I either can’t find the appropriate words to express them, or I’m sure that others will not appreciate what I say and perhaps disagree. I think this is why i dont faithfully blog.

Perhaps you are different, but I don’t wear my emotions on my sleeves, I try to keep them in check because, perhaps a little bit of Scrooge comes out, I feel like they can be deceived by the slightest bit of undigested beef or cheese. And yet I understand that God has made us emotional beings. I struggle continually with balancing between the worlds of rationalism and emotionalism. Perhaps you find it simple, I don’t. My natural reaction to tragedy is to state the obvious, accept it, and then move on. To state what I believe philosophically, theologically, and logically. I struggle with appearing “cold”.

And yet I find great strength in moments of tragedy. I find strength in believing what I know to be true, and therefore I am able to have peace in what I am confident in: that God is who He said He is, and that no circumstance can change this understanding. I see circumstances through the lens or filter of what I believe to be true and therein I find my strength.

About 1.9 miles away from the hotel room I’m lying awake in tonight, lies my father in a hospital ICU unit plugged up to machines that are helping his body continue to live. My father is a man of God. How else can I describe that to you? I just don’t know. Perhaps I mean that he processes life from God’s perspective as clearly as he can and then lives it out. I remember a few months ago my dad and I were talking about what God was doing in his life as a result of the cancer he’s dealing with now. And I was sharing with him from James 1:2-4, how the trials we face in life give us perseverance, and from that perseverance we find maturity and completeness, which ultimately matters more than our comfort in this present life. I’ll never forget when my father looked at me and said, “Mike, if God can use what I’m going through to touch someone else’s life and encourage them, then I’m willing to go through what I have to do.” Can I express to you the pride I feel as a son, to be sired by a man with such strength and perspective?

Many people are praying for Dad and Mom. It’s humbling to hear so many reports from people across the country who stopped their church services this past Sunday morning to pray for my dad who wasn’t expected to live. My parents are the most generous people I know. Not just financially, but of themselves as well. They’ve felt highs and lows of life, ministry, love, relationships, church, family…you name it. And I think that all would agree that what you see is what you get. My parents are real honest people who don’t put on a show for anyone. And I think that’s why people connect with them so well, it’s why churches all over will stop what they’re doing and begin calling on the name of the Lord. Perhaps we can all be challenged to live such lives.

Over the last 48 hours these are all the thoughts that have been rolling in my head about Dad and Mom. I find great relief in writing. Words process through my mind better with a pen than they do with my mouth. It feels good to air it out to the world. I have great confidence that Dad will pull through this moment in his life. He is one tough man who doesn’t give up easily. When I look at him lying in that bed, i find great strength in remembering that this life is not all there is. That we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons and the redemption of our bodies. I’m reminded that this life is a vapor in the wind, and then eternity. That though we may suffer a little while, our present suffering is not worth comparing to the glory God will reveal in us.

These are the things that I know to be true, therefore I put my faith in them. I trust that God is good, and that our circumstances and answered/unanswered prayers don’t change that statement in the slightest. I’m thankful that God is growing and maturing my family, even though I know it means nurturing us on pain. I’m thankful that His grace is sufficient. I’m thankful for the “It’s A Wonderful Life” outpouring of love and gratitude toward my parents. I’m thankful that when we are weak, He is strong.

Grace and peace to you all.

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