I have to say, I thought the biopsy would come back clear. BUT, it didn't. So, in the most convincing way possible, I was confronted with my own mortality. When the doctor talked with me about life expectancy projections and I heard myself saying, I'd like 12-15 more years, I realized that I am on the down side of the mountain of life and there's nothing I can do to change that. I've already lived far longer than I have yet to live. Each day that passes pushes me closer to the end of this life. But it's not a sad thing. In fact, it's a joyous thing because it has kindled a new sense of urgency in my life. A different kind of urgency. It's an urgent desire to finish well.
Even without the cancer diagnosis, if asked, I would tell you that I'm in the twilight of my life. But now, with the diagnosis, I am moved to evaluate my life thus far. And when I do, I'm not that impressed.
I have been blessed far beyond what I deserve. I have the most wonderful friend and I've been privileged to call her my bride for almost 36 years. I have 2 boys who have been such a beautiful mixture of challenge and blessing. My life has been so enriched by the 3 of them. And then, one of them brings home the daughter I've always wanted but never had. I'm proud of them all. It's been a life of pain and glory, storms and sunshine, and through it all, with all of our flaws, we survived it together.
I guess my life has been gratifying. But what concerns me now is how I've short-changed my heavenly Father over the last 35 years of vocational ministry. I spent part of that time hoping to 'climb the ladder' of my denomination. I spent part of that time seeking comfort and security for my family and me. I spent part of it wishing I could be somewhere else, doing something else and occasionally wishing I could BE someone else.
When I reflect on my Father's guidance and blessing over the last 3-4 years, I wonder why it took me over 30 years to practice what I had been preaching. In seeking comfort and security, in seeking promotion and prosperity, I have robbed myself of the thrill of trusting God with all my heart. Risky Obedience! It's what Peter did when he stepped out of the boat on the stormy sea. Why? Because Jesus said to do it! That urgency I spoke of earlier . . . is an urgency to embrace the risk of obedience to my Father. It's an urgency to never fall back into a "safe" faith. It is a willingness to spell faith R-I-S-K. It's an urgency to give as many people as possible the chance to know and experience Jesus the way I have over the past 3 years. It's an urgency to finish the race with a sprint! It's an urgency to hear those words "Well done, good and faithful servant."
For now, as the day of surgery approaches, I will cling to those two words from the scriptures that I have come to love so much -- 'But God . . ." And I will use them to preface the great words of Ephesians 3:20-21. I have cancer. But God ". . . Who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us---to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen." I'm sure He will do more that we can ask or think if we will simply yield to His sovereignty and submit to His care! It's worth the risk.