Saturday, November 20, 2010

Soaring on Wings Like Eagles (Excerpt from My Father's Cancer Diary)

I have been blessed to have the diary that my dad wrote and published during his journey through cancer. It is neat to read and see the ways his journey relates to mine. And it is so encouraging to see his love for Christ shine through his words. There is one section of his diary that I was reading tonight and wanted to share. 
Tonight we had a session meeting.  I led the devotion on Isaiah 40:31, “Those who hope in the LORD will…soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”  I have soared on wings like an eagle knowing the love of a wonderful wife whom God graciously provided, though I did not deserve.  I have been there to see the wonder of my three children being born.  My heart has soared to watch them grow in Christ and take leadership in His kingdom.

I have known many other times in my life where I have experienced soaring on wings like an eagle.  I have known the thrill of leading someone to Christ and watching them grow in the Lord.  I have known the excitement of planting a church and the thrill of watching it grow.  I have seen the amazing provision of God for our facility at Twin Oaks Presbyterian Church.  I have been to conferences that have made my heart soar.  I have experienced missions trips that have given me a whole new outlook on life.  I have been to the Holy Land three times and led a tour to Greece to follow the footsteps of Paul.  I have known what it means to “soar on wings like eagles.”

I have known what it is to “run and not grow weary” in the fast-paced schedule of a pastor.  Many people tell me to slow down, but I love what I do.  Getting up at five each morning to prepare a sermon or plan a worship service, spending the day talking with people, visiting the sick, meeting with staff, discipline men, sharing the gospel with the lost, and running the ministries of the church is very gratifying.  Coming home late at night and crashing, knowing that eternal things have been accomplished that day, is a most rewarding experience.  Sure, I am running fast, but by God’s grace, He has kept me from becoming weary.  I have known what it meant to “run and not grow weary.”

Now I am living in the third phrase of this verse.  I am learning to walk step-by-step, day-by-day, uplifted by the Lord so that I do not “grow faint.’  He has sustained me through the thirteen days in the hospital.  He has kept me from fainting during the additional three days in the hospital.  Starting December 20, I will be getting radiation every day.  That means that we will drive thirty-five minutes to Barnes Hospital.  We will wait in the lobby and then get our treatment, which will take another ninety minutes, and then drive thirty-five minutes home.  This will be a big chunk out of every day when there are many other things I want to do.  But now I must walk, walk with Jesus.  Two to four hours out of the middle of every day for six weeks will not be easy.  I am learning the joy of a slower pace, the joy of walking with Jesus by my side instead of running with Him by my side  It too, is very rewarding.  I am smelling the roses and seeing the sunsets.  It is great.
Though I am much younger now than my dad was when he wrote those words, I feel like there are so many ways in which I relate to them:
  • I have “soared”: I grew up with godly parents who taught and modeled the importance of God’s Word. I have two sisters who are my best friends. I have a wonderful, servant-hearted husband who loves me unconditionally. I have been blessed with three healthy beautiful children. I am a part of a healthy, Christ-centered church. And I have wonderful supportive friends. This list could go on…
  • I have “run and not grown weary”: Like my dad, I tend to be constantly on the go - even in my own house! Being a mother of three young children, it is hard not to be “running” all the time, but God continually keeps me from growing weary.
  • I need to “walk and not grow faint”: In  this next year there will be so many unknowns answers, so many medical tests, more chemo, surgery, possible radiation…all of that while trying to keep up with my life and my family. If I try to look at everything right now, I will grow faint. Like my father said, I need to learn to walk step-by-step, day-by-day , uplifted by the Lord so that I do not “grow faint.”