Leap of Faith (and a Proud Hubby)
The question for Amy and I since the diagnosis has been, “Will God want us to tell our story? If so, in what ways?” Amy got an opportunity this past week to share her perspective on the past 14 months in front of fifty (or so) women and from what I hear it was a slam dunk (I didn’t get to go because I’m a dude…talk about sexist). I have to say that I’m a super proud hubby right now. I’ve always been impressed with Amy’s public speaking skills and I remember early on in our marriage I prayed for opportunities like this to come her way. She is just such an honest and transparent person (almost annoyingly so…I kid) that I knew that God could really use her to inspire others. What I didn’t know way back then is that those opportunities would come due to me getting two brain surgeries and Cancer. In spite of the hardships, we’ve both been so blown away by God during this whole experience that I knew Amy would knock it out of the park. She was asked to speak on “Spiritual and Emotional Health” and chose to talk about our journey with Brain Cancer to paint an example of what she’s learned in that arena. I wish I had a video or audio recording to share with you but it didn’t happen so I thought that I’d give you the cliff notes.
When she was planning the talk, she was reminded of King Jehoshaphat’s prayer which is in 2 Chronicles 20:5-13. The day before my second surgery, she stumbled upon that passage and felt it to be a strong reminder from God to “Not be Afraid!” The context for the prayer is that the people of Jehoshaphat’s kingdom, in “Judah”, are on the verge of being destroyed by the giant armies of the neighboring countries. Jehoshaphat was a beloved King and God took great delight in him and he was very afraid of the potential hostile takeover, so he turned his attention to seek the Lord; and called upon his people to fast throughout all of Judah. What Amy chose to focus on was God’s response to the prayer. After they pray and fast and worship, the people of Jerusalem and Judah were asked by God to march down against the vast armies. As they marched, Jehoshaphat told them to sing praises to God, including the famous, “Give Thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever!” As they began to sing and praise, the Lord sent ambushes against the armies who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. As a result, the people of Judah did not even have to go to war. They were powerless, but they worshipped, and sought after a God who was all-powerful; a God who would fight on their behalf.
When God says “Do Not be Afraid!” he means it, and he has had to constantly remind us of that these past 14 months. It’s so easy, for me at least, to get caught up in the statistics of survival or the uncertainty of the future and all the things that I need to DO to ensure long term survival. I can easily let it own me, but whenever I get caught up in it, I’m always reminded that Christ said “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” For many of us that like to be in control and have certainty, I believe that the question should not be whether or not we need help, but rather, when will we realize that we need help. Amy and I wrestle with what it takes for our instincts to be like that of Jehoshaphat. We desire to instinctively understand that we are powerlessness and that we need to look to God for help. It’s either do that or be like a stubborn child, determined to make it on our own accord or simply ignore the serious threat that is upon us. Between you and me, I prefer “Option A” (it’s much easier on us). As Amy told our story to these women she realized that like Jehoshaphat she has had to constantly turn her eyes towards the Lord and acknowledge both of our own extreme limitations, and when we’ve both done so, He has subsequently delivered us from the kung-fu grip of our most potent fears.
A great visual example of this type of faith can be seen in Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade (I just watched all four of them on the big screen…y’ay, Nerd’s Day Out!). When Indy is forced to go through the obstacles to find the Holy Grail to save his wounded father he must rely on faith to make it through. The most scary obstacle is “The Leap of Faith”, which shows Indy at a thin ridge with a bottomless pit below him and he must figure out a way to get to the other side which is a half a football field’s length away. He finally realizes that he must literally step out in faith to make it across and the internal struggle that Indy experiences before doing so (which is so brilliantly portrayed by Harrison Ford) is exactly what it feels like every time Amy and I have to take that same “leap” amidst our struggles…I posted the clip below if you want to check it out. I’m very proud that Amy has the gift of public speaking and can impact people with our story (things like that sometimes makes it all worth it). I think I, however, will stick to writing.