On Thanksgiving Day 2009, Matt Chandler, (a pastor who I really enjoy listening to) had a seizure. It was soon discovered that he had a tumor on his brain. Almost right away he started praising God for giving him, of all people, a brain tumor that might kill him, and would certainly maim him, because it gave him an even greater ability and urgency to speak of God's love and grace in all things. It's been a crazy thing to watch and I've been greatly encouraged by it. In this Youtube video, recorded right before he went in for brain surgery, he said this:
"for those of you, who kind of - you just keep living in fear - and you would try to use this as an excuse to continue in that fear, don't you dare use me, as an excuse to continue in your lies. My hope would be that you would see that he is good in all things - and that he would never send any of us things he does not provide strength for..."
A while ago, I took a world-wind and somewhat impromptu trip around the world. It was such an intense experience, one that stretched me and tested me in so many ways - when I arrived back home in the States, I thought to myself that I could die happily right then and there, because I was so fortunate to have seen and experienced so much - I had been so incredibly and undeservedly blessed. I'd like to think that I'd be able to face the same situation as Matt Chandler with such grace. He's been an incredible testament of Christ's love radiating through a man.
I read the book of Ecclesiastes today. A book who's theme in the ESV study Bible is described as "the necessity of fearing God in a fallen, and therefore frequently confusing and frustrating world." God is absolutely sovereign and in control of everything, even the things we perceive as bad. While it may sound New Agey and self-helpy, to say that one must take on a mindset of absolute optimism, it's true. Know that God is good and loves you. And then take on the challenges of the day with gratitude. That is the way to peace.
To see how Matt is faring after surgery, check out his most recent updates on the Village Church Youtube page.