Man of Faith or Man of Fate: the Choice is Yours
|Last month was the first time in the two years our website has been in operation that we did not publish an article on the website. While I could write a book on all that has happened in the last few months, I am going to just hit the high points or low points in some cases, to hopefully give you some understanding and more importantly, I hope it provides you encouragement.
In October of 2006, God decided He was ready to move our family to Starkville, MS. We had never thought about Starkville as being some place we needed to live but God had other plans and so in mid-October I began working in Starkville while Dorothy and the kids stayed in Columbia to sell the house and finish the semester of school. We sold the house in late December and found a house to lease in Starkville so that we could get the family moved. On January 1st, 2007, Dorothy, Charlie, Danielle and I arrived in Starkville for the first time as our new home as a family.
Things were going well and we began to settle in to our new community. Dorothy noticed a spot on my head and we immediately scheduled a visit with my doctor back in Nashville. At first he wasn’t overly concerned but due to my history, he wanted to do a punch biopsy. A week later the results came back and the doctor said the pathology showed some cells that were precancerous and he wanted to go ahead and remove them. I scheduled a return trip for what was to be a minor in-office procedure to remove the diseased tissue. When the pathology report came back on that tissue we heard something we did not at all expect. To every one’s surprise we heard the dreaded “C” word . . . cancer. This was the fifth time in six years that we had heard this awful and frightening word and this time it had other words attached to it like “invasive” and “melanoma.” I was scheduled to go into the hospital on January 23rd to remove additional tissue and have a skin graft to reconstruct the area removed from my scalp. I told my doctor that the back on my head was beginning to resemble a bowling ball and I wanted him to see if he could get a more creative scar pattern this time. The good news is that every occurrence has been on the back of my head so I don’t have to look at the scars that everyone else sees everyday. You see, that’s a lot like my life is now. I don’t have to look at the horrible scars that sin created in my life because Jesus has given me a new vision of what my life in Him looks like.
While I wish I could tell you with all that was going on in our lives I never wavered, never felt defeated, or was depressed it would be an absolute lie. I can tell you that Matthew 17:20-21 became so vivid and alive for me. This passage states “He (Jesus) replied, ‘Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, Move from here to there and it will move. Nothing is impossible for you.” I have learned that so many of us guys live our lives as though they are controlled by fate rather than God. Fate is defined as “the will or principle or determining cause by which things in general are believed to come to be as they are or events to happen as they do.” For some odd reason men seem to be more comfortable with attributing things like moving, illness, as well as many other life issues as events of fate rather than acts of God. Please understand, I am not saying that God causes all of these things but I am saying that if God is who He says He is then He would have to allow everything that happens in our lives to happen. Faith on the other hand is defined as “belief and trust in and loyalty to God.” Hebrews 11: 1-3 tells us “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” You see no matter what is going on in our lives, good or not so good, God is still God. He is still in control and He is still an Awesome God! AMEN! While we may struggle with the life issues we are dealt, it only takes a little faith to see the mighty hand of God in everything that happens. While it may make us feel more of a man to chalk it up to fate because we want to believe that other than fate we control our own destiny, it just takes a little faith to know that there is One who knows the plan and His plan has no flaws. It is our sinful nature that brings about the doubt and it is our faith in our Heavenly Father, no matter how small, that allows Him to demonstrate that we can truly be over comers and defeat Satan in his efforts to destroy our relationship with our Creator. Satan will use every weapon in his arsenal to try and destroy our relationship with God but with even the smallest of faith we can defeat the enemy and his army of demons. Glory be to God for when we bring Him little, He can do great things with it!
There is a wonderful event documented in the 8th chapter of Matthew. It states “Then he (Jesus) got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!’ He replied, ‘You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’ Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.” I don’t know what winds or waves are going on in your life right now but I can tell you with absolute confidence the One that can bring you through those storms. His name is Jesus and He is ready and willing to bring calm into your life even when the world around you seems to be totally out of control. Simply exercise a little faith and you will be amazed at the tremendous effect it can have on your life.
Let me close by telling you that my prognosis is good. The doctor feels that the cancer was caught and removed early enough that there should be no additional problems related to this occurrence. We are still settling in to our new community and we will be updating the website and our mailing address to reflect this change soon. Please continue to pray for us because we gain strength through your faithful prayers. Always remember what 2 Corinthians 5:7 tells us and that is “We live by faith, not by sight.”