This blog is the combined effort of four senior pastors of different churches. Their desire is to point you toward living a God-centered, gospel-focused, Christian life.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

What to Do When You Get Bad News

Yesterday, I prepared a blog post with some thoughts on preaching that were prompted by a book the staff is reading entitled A Guide to Expository Ministry. The book promises to be an encouragement to our staff as we talk through how scripture impacts every aspect of our church’s life.

But I won’t be getting to that post today.

As I wrote the post, I received a rather disappointing email from my dad. At this point, it appears the stem cell transplant he underwent in January did not have any affect on the cancer.

This is quite shocking. We knew that the treatment could harm his body. We knew that it might only be effective for a few years. What we did not anticipate is that it would have no impact.

Even in this, we praise God. I’d encourage you to read my dad’s thoughts because I believe they may prove helpful to you as God brings difficult circumstances into your own life: 

We don't fully know that this means for my dad's long-term health. I’m still processing what all this means, emotionally, but here’s just a quick thought, and a hard truth for me to grasp: How my dad responds to cancer is far more important than whether or not he is cured of cancer.

Dad’s response is already an instrument God is using to minister to people. No matter our current physical circumstances, the end of our life is not far, far away. To see someone struggle with something like cancer reminds us that the physical bodies our souls inhabit have a finite shelf-life.

In college, some of the Christianity I was exposed to seemed very trite. I struggled with an expression of Christianity that was well-meaning but seemed unable to account for the complexities of life and the reality of suffering. The God popular Christianity proclaimed offered platitudes but didn't "fill the universe" the way the God of Scripture did. 

The God of Scripture, the one that my parents exposed me to, is infinite and yet cares for the finite. Our sufferings are not greater than His glory. A God that is man-centered is comforting for a moment but in the long-term unsatisfying. Men that are God-centered struggle for a moment but in the long-term find a joy that is all satisfying.

I’m grateful for my dad’s blogpost, which I think may encourage you toward a Biblical, satisfying vision of God. And, by the way, if my dad's journey does cause you to ask questions about your relationship with God and the concept of eternity, I encourage you to check out his other post on "the most important question":


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