Valitus, Chemo, death, and being sadly joyful.

I have been listening to the new album from The Ember Days all day.

Death is imminent and it is inevitable. In reality, however, death is like college, or getting married, or having kids. It is a far off event. It will happen one day, but in our hearts and heads we don’t really think it ever will.

Today I hung out with Jake Gonzales. This summer, there was a time where Jake’s doctors told his wife the odds of him living through the night were less than 5%.

I have an incredible heritage and will never take my home life for granted. My mom and dad are still happily married. My immediate family in many ways is an anomaly by today’s standards. I tell you this so that my next statements are not misunderstood as some form of bitterness towards my early church years, nor is it to be misinterpreted as grumbling about how I was raised.

I grew up in an uber conservative Christian home. We turned the channel on TV if there was a swear word. We went to church 3 times a week, at least. If we weren’t at church we were probably with some church folks at some churchy event. Most of the basis for my “faith”, what I would say set me apart from my “non-Christian” friends, was my church attendance record and the fact that I didn’t say certain words. Oh and when I got older I added no drugs or alcohol to the list.

No amount of moralism could have ever prepared me for this year. I cannot thank God enough for graciously saving me from a life of self righteous moralism. I feel it necessary to make this distinction. See if God had not saved me I just don’t know what I would do right now. I have some ideas…I won’t entertain them. I have great capacity for evil.

See, Mom “had” cancer is just so much better sounding than mom “has” cancer.

My heart has been forced to truly wrestle with what I believe to be true. Do I really believe in the resurrection of the dead? I do. I believe it because I was spiritually dead and God, the creator of the universe entered in, became a man, lived a perfect life, was crucified on a cross, experienced death and conquered it, and, He did all of this to resurrect my soul from its dead state.

I believe in eternity. I believe that God is three in one, and for all of eternity He has lived in absolute perfect community. In Genesis it says we were made in His image. We are the painting on the canvas of God’s imagination.

When I think about my mom suffering, my heart is perpetually breaking. Why does it have to hurt so bad to lose the ones we love if we will see them again?Well for me its because I am the most impatient person I know. The truth of the matter is much deeper. We are made in His image. So, in us, is a deep insatiable longing for community. It is a foreshadow of God’s promises to us. It is a taste of the perfection yet to come.

So the pain I feel…the ache I get in my throat from trying not to cry, it points to a loving triune God. Even in cancer and even in death, my heart is drawn to a peace I cannot fully understand.

I don’t have to rely on moralism to comfort me or give me some sort of coping mechanism of good deeds. I can rely on my hope in Jesus Christ. if the God of this universe is willing to experience death so I can live, I can trust Him to be at work in this nightmare. I do not get it. Honestly I have felt like the disciples on the boat when Jesus was asleep in the stern; basically alone at sea.

Jesus was not sleeping to be a jerk and let them drown. He was sleeping because the wind and sea are commanded by Him.

God could heal my mom tomorrow. I know that God hears prayers. I hung out with Jake today for crying out loud. We laughed together at Stephen Colbert. He has held his daughter. He gets stronger every day.

I am praying every day that God would be glorified through the healing of my mom. I know He can do it. If not, I choose to trust Him. My mom raised me to do so. Grace upon grace. I am crying a lot lately, as I am sure many in my family are. Deep down, I have joy rooting its way to the surface. I hope the same is true for my loved ones.

If you are not a believer, all this God talk either offends you or stirs your heart. If you are offended, ask yourself why. If it stirs your heart, I would submit to you that God is calling you to Him. Do not harden your heart.


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