Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Some Thoughts on Turning 62

20180204_093602 (960x1280)Of course my first thought on turning 62 is that I am glad I made it. At this time last year that was certainly in doubt. I don’t remember much about turning 61 because I was so sick and ended up spending much of February 2017 in the hospital. That was also the month the doctors finalized my diagnosis and came up with the treatment plan which began in March. This was what was happening then. Now we are at the other end of 3 separate courses of chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant. I am feeling better and things look good right now. We wait for the testing in March. I’d like to be able to do a big flex and say “I kicked cancer’s butt!” but it would not be true. Yeah, I was there and had to go through a lot but I was mostly passive through this thing. Right from the beginning, God was leading me to trust Him through the whole treatment process. The doctors and medical staff were amazing and were a gift to me from God. My caretaker Joyce was a constant conduit of God’s grace, love, beauty and care. I know many people labored in prayer for me and I know that is hard work too. Mostly, I know that “cancer’s butt was kicked” at the cross and I am thankful to God for any healing I have received. That God worked is clear. How God worked and is working is awesome and wonderful and beyond finding out.

I had a chance to go up to Camino Community Church and share a short update with them last Sunday. I felt that God was telling me to share with them about “chaos.” I have been thinking a lot about that lately since it seems to have invaded my life. The Old Testament often presents God’s act of creation and His subsequent managing of it as a “battle with the chaos monster.” God starts things with blessing, beauty, order, meaning and purpose; and then His created “imagers,” both human and supernatural, mess it up by going independent and thinking they can do things on their own. Thus the pattern of life portrayed in the Bible is blessing - disobedience – chaos – promise – hope – restoration. Israel’s story is covenant blessing – idolatry – exile – regathering. The New Testament adds advent – crucifixion – resurrection. Nobody gets glory without the chaos in between. God Himself even subjects Himself to that grief by being in relationship with us and becoming one of us through the process.

The outcome of thinking like this is HOPE.  Ultimately, only God kicks the chaos monster’s butt. But in his grace and mercy He lets me get in a few kicks too as I trust Him and live as His imager (that means for me, “follow Jesus”) within the chaos. In the midst of all that chaos God ministered His Presence and blessing to me in so many ways. That is how I can live a hopeful life. As I used to say to my students, “A life philosophy that does not give real hope and joy in the face of the fact that you are going to die someday does not work.” It has not happened without some very dark and scary nights, but that hope and joy is how I am still here today.

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