About one week before I was diagnosed with Testicular Cancer, I came across a Matt Chandler video that he recorded for his church when he was first finding out about his Brain Cancer.
I was inspired by Matt’s resolve to love and serve Jesus in spite of this challenge he was facing, and I was inspired by his ability to see it as just another thing in life to trust God with and use to build his faith.
He talks about Hebrews 11, and how some great men of God shut the mouths of lions and fought injustice and did phenomenal things in their lifetime…but then some great men were killed and tortured for their faith; yet both were counted as ones who had great faith in God.
Then, he said something that would completely change my perspective on trials and challenges for a follower of Jesus: He felt honored to be considered worthy to endure this trial (brain cancer), and be given a chance not only to praise God in the good times, but to praise God in the tough times.
I remember sitting in my bed, watching that video, thinking to myself, “I hope I would have the same response if something like that happened to me.”
Fast forward to the hospital bed I was in on May 8, right before my emergency surgery. I truly believe it was Gods grace and strength that allowed me to lift my perspective, but I turned to my family and said, “ya know? Why not me?” It’s hard to explain, but in that moment, I felt a sense of honor that God would trust me with this trial. I had that video in mind that I had seen just the week before.
Theologically, I believe God was aware and allowing this to happen in my life. And since He was allowing it, I had the choice to trust and praise Him through it, just like I’ve trusted and praised Him through all of the good times in my life.
Pause & Sidenote: I realize this could sound super prideful…it even reads that way as I write it. But I hope my heart’s intent comes through these words – nothing I did enabled me to have this response. I believe God allowed me to see the bigger picture. Did I have my doubts and down-days? Absolutely. Not every chemo day was all smiles and Bible verses. It sucked, and it’s ok to be human, and weak, and honest about those days.
That Chandler video shifted my perspective on life, how I read the Bible, and how I viewed trails and challenges in this life. Why not me? If trials are inevitable (and they are), then may they be yet another way to lift up the name of Jesus.
Also, if trials are inevitable, then why not allow Jesus-followers to experience them? We can be the people to walk the tough road differently. We can be the people of peace, grace, and kindness in the midst of a storm. The world will be able to look upon Christians walking through trials and notice how different our response is to theirs.
I’m not confident I know all the reasons I had to walk through Testicular Cancer. When I think about my life and where I was at the time, perhaps God wanted to show a youth group of Junior High students in Michigan what it looks like to be a Christian and still walk through really tough times.
If I could be part of God’s illustration in a broader teaching to the watching world…then, why not me?