In my last blog I said that my mother was handed a “death sentence”. It was a term I used intentionally because that’s really what our doc was using medial terms to say.
So imagine my surprise when I visited a church yesterday and the Pastor read this:
2 Corinthians 1:8We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. 9Indeed, in our hearts we felt the SENTENCE OF DEATH.(emphasis mine) But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our[a] behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.
I just thought it fascinating that those very words “sentence of death” were the words Paul used in describing his hardships.
I love the next line right after that. He calls God the one who “raises the dead”.
Not coincidentally I’ve been reading the book Surprised By Hope by N.T. Wright. Subtitle: Rethinking Heaven, The Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church.
I am relying on the God who raises the dead. He will deliver my mother. And ultimately I will leave it up to Him to define what “deliverance” looks like.
I truly believe that I don’t know more than God, and thus it is nonsense for me to order him around to do my bidding. He sees things I can not possibly see, knows things I can not possibly know and thus I’m uniquely OK with how he defines deliverance.
Not dying is not defeating death. It’s cheating death, alluding death, avoiding death our putting off death. But DEFEATING death is resurrection. You and I, just like Jesus already did, will one day rise again from the dead.
1 Cor 15: 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”[g]
Paul told the Corinthians says that for now I see through a glass darkly. I get in trouble when I think I can see it clearly and figure it out on my own. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried driving around with your windows fogged up, but that’s a recipe for disaster.
Like Ephesians says, I’ve made my requests known. I’ve made my prayers and supplications. And I’m fully prepared that “no” is just as much of an answer as “yes” is. My kids are uniquely aware of this concept with their father as well.
At the beach last month my daughter Ashleigh was convinced that she wanted to stay in the condo so she could watch Sponge Bob while the beach literally was 100 yards away. I mean, sure Sponge Bob is great and who can blame her for wanting to not miss the ending, but the beach was so close. I literally had to force her out of what she thought was such an amazing existence into the world just outside her door that included the amazing white sands of Destin, the clear waters of the gulf, and peace and tranquility.
Paul was torn between life and eternity. I’ve got a front row seat to this very dilemma. As good as it is here in the “condo” known as earth, the beach awaits.
Paul said that the people of Corinth helped him by their prayers. I get that too. So many of you have written me and shared your own stories. Cancer is an evil that has plagues so many millions. I truly am not alone.
So many have written just to say that they’re praying for us. I’ve shared them with my mom and it has amazed her and strengthened her. (it’s also possible that she’s just fascinated that her little dorky son actually has so many friends) I appreciate all of your thoughts and prayers.
Honestly I even appreciate the emails offering to correct my theology. In a strange way even those are encouraging to me that people are at least thinking about me enough to show me where you think I’m wrong. ☺
Thanks to Lori Hughes for sharing with me. You just went through this very journey. It’s been amazing to have your insight.
Thanks to Cheryl Hurley and your family for sharing with me your wisdom as you are currently on this very journey. Your words have meant a lot to my mother.
And thanks to Laurie Anderson. I know you’ve made many trips to Minneapolis for a situation that is not the same but similar. Your words are encouraging.
Peggy Warny in San Diego. Your email strengthened my mom so much.
I wish my wrists didn’t hurt from so much typing, I would thank all of you by name. Just know that I appreciated you all.
And just like always, just like with Paul said in vs 11, “many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many”.
I hope you don’t mind me dropping these notes here. I’m not on a pity search. It’s sort of cathartic for me, and perhaps someone could be encouraged as I live this journey openly.
If you’re in the Franklin area tonight at 7:30pm please join Philip Peters and Jeremy Hezlep for The Conduit. As always it’s at Journey Ecclessia in Building 8 at The Factory. I’m not there, but the work of the Kingdom continues. I’m not nearly that important that God “needs” me there for Conduit to work. Conduit is about you silly.
1 Corinthians 15: 35But someone may ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” 36How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 38But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. 39All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. 40There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. 41The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.
1 Corinthians 15: 42So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”[e]; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. 48As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we[f] bear the likeness of the man from heaven.
50I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed- 52in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”[g]
55″Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”[h] 56The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.