Last month I had the privilege of giving the message at church. I am attempting to connect this blog to our church website here http://www.crossroadscommunitychurch.net/SundayMessages/tabid/45/Default.aspx if you want to hear the talk. While preparing I came across a new observation that I had never noticed before. The passage (Hebrews 12:1-2) is a familiar one. I’ve memorized it and studied it over the years. But this time when I read and reread it, what stood out was…
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. (Hebrews 12:1)
We, us, us, us, us, us, in just one verse. I think the author of Hebrews was pointing out an important truth about the Christian life. We were not meant to go at life alone. Probably the hardest decision we have when we struggle or are in pain is to let someone in. It is difficult, but I have found that it makes all the difference.
During the fall of 2008 my friend, Missy, and I were leading a women’s Bible study of new believers. We would meet in the food court at the Irvine Spectrum and it was clear that God was knitting our hearts together as we shared our lives and studied God’s word. After several meetings, one of women shared about an Irvine mom that she knew. This mom was an Asian “Martha Stewart.” She always looked together, her kids looked together, her home looked together, the food she made, everything she did was in a word: together. Then she got diagnosed with breast cancer and she couldn’t handle the physical changes that happened to her. I guess when faced with battling cancer, she couldn’t hold it together. She ended up committing suicide and leaving behind her husband and two kids.
That story really hit me. I remember thinking, “It’s hard to let people into the messy parts of life. I like being the “strong one” and helping others, but I don’t like being on the receiving end. I could also, so easily, shut people out of my pain.” And I remember pausing right there in the midst of the Bible study going on, and the background sounds of the people at the food court and silently praying, “Father, I purpose in my heart, right here, right now that if anything like that ever happens to me, I will let people in.”
God was, and is, so very gracious.
Breast cancer wasn’t even on my radar that day when the story was shared and that prayer was prayed. I look back and believe that God used that story to prepare me before I even knew what the following year would hold.
So, in keeping with the prayer and what I had purposed with God, I called Kelly, Debbie and Leila (who became and still are the Awesome Threesome). I called them and I called Missy and Terry even before I knew the results of the biopsy. I opened up and let them into my pain. And, through CaringBridge, brought you into some of the good and hard of the cancer experience.
It made all the difference.
I have tasted “we, us, us, us….” and God really knows what He’s talking about.