I was in the ER with my wife at 1:30 in the morning when we found out that I had Cancer. One of the neurosurgeons was restitching my incision when my wife casually asked if the results had come in. Not knowing the answer my neurosurgeon said she would check and let us know. Twenty or so minutes had passed when she came in and began speaking in a tone that gave the news away. She kindly and empathetically explained that their initial hopes were wrong and that I had a glioblastoma, grade four. Simply put, I have a very aggressive brain cancer to the worst degree.
Rewind back about 6 months, when I found out that an old friend of mine, Brian, was fighting brain cancer. His response was Be Positive, to the point that he designed a logo with that mantra. I remember being impressed by his response to the news and how he handled things throughout the process of treatment.
Cut back to the ER, the surgeon had just left and my wife and I were holding hands and all the sudden I started seeing visions of the things I would likely miss. My kids graduations; holding a grandchild; walking the streets of Rome with my wife. We were sitting there in silence holding back tears when I broke the silence telling God that this situation sucks, but not my will but yours be done. After that, while staring into space, I said they only way to respond to this is positively.
If you know me or have been regularly following this blog you know that I believe in the God of the Bible. Some of you know that I moved to to Minneapolis to help start a church. So I am guessing that you think I am some sort of super christian. Hate to break it to you, I am not. To be very frank, God and I were not on the best terms before all this mess.
It is fair to suggest that I built a significant wall between him and I, it was pretty tall and very thick. But as we were sitting on the ER bed holding each other, I very clearly remember seeing a vision of God gently push me aside saying, "I got this", and like a power hitter swinging a sledge hammer, He began demolishing this wall that took me years to build. All of a sudden, peace fell on me, and I felt God closer than ever.
That moment has played a significant part in my ability to respond to this diagnosis with positivity. I don't believe you have to be a Christ follower to handle cancer well, I am just stating that in my case, it is helping me.
What is strange to me is how little I have done to keep my relationship with God going. I mean He and I chat, I do pray for others, and I get into the Bible, but not significantly so. While I am trying to pursue God more, I do so knowing that he wants me at the very base of it all to "Keep It Simple, Stupid."
Christians really fuck up Christianity. Seriously, we make it so hard for our non-believing friends to even consider God as someone they could get to know or help them get through the shit that we call life. So, I am going to make it a hell of a lot easier to step into this world of Christendom and kick the tires for a bit. I am going to tell you what God told me in the ER, "Keep It Simple, Stupid."
See, while a relationship with God can become very rich and deep, it starts with Him loving you, you loving Him, and Him helping you navigate the road in front of you. Even if that road is detoured with cancer.
With the grace and peace that I have recieved from God I am going to end this post with the words of the great songwriter Israel Houghton. "I'm trading my sickness, and I'm trading my pain I'm laying it down for the joy of the Lord!"
An Assignment - Whether you are not a believer or if it's been awhile since doing so I, just as Chance The Rapper does, I encourage you to talk to him. Something got you down, tell him, ask him what he thinks about it and see if you hear or sense something. You happy about something and want to share it with someone? Share it with him and ask him what He thinks. Just talk to him, see what happens.