It’s a message illustration I’ll never forget.
The pastor was sharing how he visited a family where the wife had just received a terminal cancer diagnosis.
That’s always tragic, but this particular instance had some untimely components.
The husband was a United Methodist pastor who had just retired after 40 years of ministry. He/his wife had been married the entire years of service and were very much looking forward to retirement. He was the type of pastor who was “all in!” So his career in ministry had led them into some difficult times setting boundaries and knowing how to balance family/the calling of vocational ministry. They vocally shared they were anticipating no more calls away from family events because a crisis just occurred, no more night commitments that they didn’t “choose,” no more Sunday afternoons filled with work stuff. They were planning to enjoy “being a family.”
Two weeks after his retirement she developed some serious health issues, and after a few weeks of testing received the terminal diagnosis.
My colleague shared how his heart was so heavy as he approached their home. He knew of their hope for the future, and now that hope seemed gone.
As he sat with the couple he was struck by their positivity. He prayed with them and walked to his car.
Standing outside with the husband, he said, “I have to be honest with you. I’m struck by how you guys are taking this. I think if this were my life, I’d be so angry. I’d be saying, “Why me, God? I gave my life to you and this is what happens?”
The gentleman looked at him and simply said, “How could I ask ‘Why me?’ Why not me?”
His point was profound.
Death is part of our journey. Not one we like or enjoy, but part of it. Yet he’d spent his life teaching and reminding that “The worst things are never the last things. And the last things are beautiful things.”
I’d like to ask you this today . . .
When you find yourself in the middle of circumstances you don’t like, ask , , .
“God, you tell me you use all things for good, how is this going to be used for good? Open my mind so that I can see what and how you are going to use this to teach me.”
Then wait. I promise answers will come!
Grace and Peace,
Psalm 66: 8-13
Bless our God, O peoples!
Give him a thunderous welcome!
Didn’t he set us on the road to life?
Didn’t he keep us out of the ditch?
He trained us first,
passed us like silver through refining fires,
Brought us into hardscrabble country,
pushed us to our very limit,
Road-tested us inside and out,
took us to hell and back;
Finally he brought us
to this well-watered place.