Today started off great. My Mom, Dad, brother, sisters, brothers in law, sister in law, and 5 granddaughters started the day looking out across a peaceful LBJ lake. We had been looking forward to this trip for months. I am so blessed to be part of a family that loves getting together. There are always plenty of laughs and just an enjoyment of being together. Things began to change midmorning when my Mom got a phone call asking her to come in to get the results of an MRI she had last week. The thought was that she had a disk problem in her back that had been causing pain for the last couple months. When the doctors office asked that my dad come with her we knew things weren’t good. For the next few hours we go about our day swimming, boating and trying not to think the worst. If you try hard enough you can nearly convince yourself everything is going to be fine even though there is that small corner in your mind that you know something is not right. Then the words that so many have heard, and yet they feel unbelievably personal came, saying; your Mom has cancer. Never before has a vacation changed directions so quickly. Life is forever changed for our family because of that word, cancer.
We have very little information at this point and we don’t know what the next steps are. What we do know is that my Mom is now facing a life threatening disease and the path to recovery will not be easy. Our emotions are all over the map. Anger, frustration, fear, hurt, and a forced glimmer of hope are mixed together making a melting pot of emotional instability. We were asked by my Mom to stay at the lake and “have fun and don’t let this ruin the vacation.” We all know that we couldn’t do any good clogging up her hospital room, so we have stayed at the lake house together, at least for one night. (We also do not want to get reprimanded by our mother if we went against her wishes J)
As expected, we are having a challenging time of following my mom’s desire for us to have fun. We decided to do our best and all of us piled into the boat to cruise around the lake in Kingsland. Two interesting things happened. First, we were listening to a children’s station on Pandora and the song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” came on. I bet the song just came flooding back into your head and just like 20 years ago you won’t be able to get it out for hours: your welcome. I had to laugh at the simplicity of the song and its simple message. Worry is not going to help anything. Then, as we are speeding across the water the sun breaks through the clouds for the first time today and we see a faint rainbow. On top of that, rain begins to fall. There is nothing more surreal than feeling the splash of rain in your face in the bright sunshine.
It hit me as we dodged the raindrops and squinted into the sun that we have entered into a storm of life. I don’t know the outcome and I know that the rain will increase before it lets up. But just as the sun burst forth through the clouds today, despite the rain, I know the presence of God will burst forth in the darkest days of this battle against cancer. The sun was so bright today that the rain became insignificant in its light. Whether the clouds grow darker and the storm rages in our lives the light of Christ will render the storm powerless in the end. Know matter the ending, the darkness of life will be forced out by the light of life that comes from Christ. It is hard to see now, but my Mom and our family are going to get to see the radiant beauty of a God whose light penetrates the darkness. I am scared to death and yet I can’t wait to experience the marvelous light of Christ.
We appreciate your prayers and we will share with you how God’s light will overcome this darkness.
This morning I saw another brief comment regarding the horrific shooting in Charleston, SC and the frustration that has been bubbling within me reached another level. Forgive me if I vent a little and push the bounds of political correctness, but I write with a heavy heart in light of this act of evil. We are not three days removed from the heinous, racist act of an individual and we are already responding in fear. Yes, I believe fear is driving the conversation following this event. I know there are some exceptions, but most of the comments and articles I have seen have focused on a few different topics. First and foremost, a vast amount of attention is given to the racist individual who murdered nine innocent lives and changed the lives of hundreds forever. Next, I have seen numerous commentaries on race relations and issues plaguing our country. Similarly, there have been conversations discussing the role of religion in this tragedy. Finally, the ever present and divisive role of politics has taken a front and center place. The gun control issue has reared its head, as has the endless debate on the semantics used to discuss the issue. In less than 24 hours after such an evil act, the political pundits from all viewpoints began to dissect the issue in order to promote their own agenda. Despite the vast differences of opinions flying through the social media world there is one common thread; fear.
I feel like we have to create all these different topics because we don’t want to acknowledge what really happened on Wednesday. On Wednesday night we were reminded once again of the devastating reality of evil. Evil is terrifying because it cannot be controlled and despite this fact, we have created a culture that believes if we try hard enough we can control anything. In the face of such evil we quickly begin to debate how we can control this in the future. Therefore we debate the cause of racism, how our government perpetrates racism, and many times our debate contributes to more racism. We also start arguing about what laws or policies we need to prevent such evil acts. I am sickened at how quickly such an evil act gets used by both sides to push anti or pro gun agendas. Do we really think any type of new law or elimination of law will prevent such overt evil?
Evil is a reality in this world. Jesus acknowledged this as he prayed for us just before he was nailed to a cross. The sad fact is that no matter what we do there will always be evil in the world. Racism has been and will always be a potent avenue for evil to manifest itself. We can and should talk about ways to reduce racism in our world, but I’m not sure having these discussions 24 hours after such a heartbreaking event is the best time. Positive headway is seldom made when emotions are so raw.
In moments like this we are reminded that we live in a world where evil is a reality. The only answer to evil is the life changing power of Christ. No amount of political discussions or action will ever defeat evil. Only the power of Christ that overcame evil through the resurrection can bring peace, hope, joy and love into this world. If we do not acknowledge that the power of Christ is the only thing that overcomes evil we will always be fearful of the evil in this world. We will continuously try and fail to prevent evil from happening, and in the process we will be pulled farther and farther from the one who can overcome; Jesus Christ. Jesus does not overcome by preventing evil but rather sustaining us through evil until the time comes for everything to be made new again.
Today, as the Body of Christ, our sole focus needs to be on these families, this church, and this community as evil has inserted itself into their lives. I believe that this very day Jesus is mourning with these families and his heart breaks to see those he loves caught up in such an evil act. In ways that we can’t explain Jesus is extending peace and hope to those involved. Through all the anger, frustration and hatred, God is offering His message of love and grace. Let us take some time to mourn together before we start dissecting the act of evil. Let us allow God to comfort so that eventually we will be drawn closer to Him rather than pushed farther away. We need to acknowledge we don’t have the answers to such evil, but we can know the one who does.