"I have told you these things, so that in me you may peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world" – John 16:33.
My family wants to thank each one of your from the bottom of our hearts for the love, support, and prayers that we have received. It really is making a difference and we are experiencing a supernatural faith, strength, confidence and peace that is impossible to explain. Thank you so much! I praise God for each of you. God is giving us a perspective that only comes through His Spirit and it is seeing us through.
As we step into this time of trial with our son, Caelan, I am thinking a lot about suffering, and ultimately about the suffering of Jesus. We had our Good Friday service last night and afterwards watched The Passion of the Christ. I was, once again, amazed at how Jesus took a beating for us and how God was most glorified through the SUFFERING of His only Son. When we think of God, we think of glory, power, strength, and holiness. We think of the Supreme Judge who gave the Ten Commandments and who thunders with power. It is difficult, if not impossible, to understand that God hung on a cross for us. He was beaten for us. He gave His life for us. The Cross of Christ was the apex of human history and we learn more about God from that event than from anything else in Scripture. God became flesh. He went to a brutal Roman cross. He suffered and died so that we would have life. Amazing Grace.
This gives special meaning to the cancer that my son is going through and all of our suffering . . .
This world is held captive by sin, suffering, depravity, and darkness (Romans 8:18-21). We live in a state of frustration. We want everything now and so we construct lives of safety and pleasure to fill the deep void in our hearts. All the while, we live in decay. This is why we need a Savior – "I am making everything new" – Rev. 21:5. He took our suffering upon Himself. This does not mean that we still do not suffer or have sickness or death – everyone experiences this. Rather, it means that we have hope because Jesus has overcome death, sickness, and Satan. He is victorious through His death, burial, and resurrection. 1 John 3:5,8 says that Jesus came to take away our sins and to destroy the Devil’s work. Amen – He is our hope, we give our suffering to Him through faith and trust.
In the last few days, I have had people ask why I have peace. It is hard to explain and I know that it does not come from me. As we suffer, I gaze upon a Suffering Savior who has already trod that path and has overcome. "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me" Galatians 2:20. Christ, who has suffered and died and rose victoriously, lives in me and you if you believe in Him. He has overcome the world, so He gives us His peace. This life that I live in the body I live by faith in Him. As I look to Him (and I have nowhere else to look), I live from His life and power. Whatever happens, my hope is not in doctors or test results (although I praise God for them), but my hope is in the God who redeems, saves, intervenes in our misery, and who holds the whole world in His hands.
The past couple of months I have been thinking a lot about suffering and bearing up under trial because our hope is in the Lord. I think that God was teaching me His Truth on this before this started so that I would look to Him instead of our circumstances. This does not mean that life is not so very painful and that we do not have bad days or feel like we are going to fall apart, but we know that "He is before all things and in Him all things hold together" – Col. 1:17. The popular, trendy, authentic thing to do is to say how terrible this is and how mad at God I am that He would allow my little son to suffer. But, I truly do not feel that. I feel peace. I still rejoice in the Lord. I am concerned for my son and have cried many times. I feel sadness at what he will go through. But, there is no anxiety or fear – that can only be a miracle of grace and I give God the glory.
So, as I meditate on this week of Passion that leads to the ultimate victory on Easter Sunday, I look to a God who met pain head on and conquered it. His victory ushers us into eternal life that tells us that this world is not all there is. The tomb is empty and the stone is rolled away! We have hope in the life to come that is downloaded into us now as we place our faith in Jesus, who is life – "for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God" – 1 John 5:4,5.
4 Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
Thank you for your prayers for Erika and I and Caelan and the other children. God is answering them. I could not imagine going through this alone. He is truly powerful and we are believing fo great miracles in the days ahead. God is not surprised and this is just another chance for Him to prove Himself strong.