Humble

Matthew 25:21
His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant.  You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much.  Enter into the joy of your master.

 
Have you ever had a moment in your life where you’ve been totally humbled by what you see happening around you?  As I’m writing this I remember three instances that stand out to me.  All three of them involve someone dealing with the realities of cancer.
The first was my grandfather.  I only remember meeting him in person maybe twice in my life.  The last time I spoke with him was on a phone call.  I’m guessing he was in his 80’s at that time.  During the course of our conversation he was praising Jesus.
I wasn’t a Christian at that time and the whole conversation was just plain weird to me.  He didn’t care, he praised Jesus the whole time we spoke.
I was humbled weeks later when I spoke with my Aunt about my grandfather.  He had been staying with her when I had spoken with him the previous time.  As she and I were talking I mentioned how “happy” and “upbeat” he was.  I didn’t want to say “crazy,” which is what I thought back then.
My aunt then proceeded to tell me that he was always positive. She also told me that he had cancer and was undergoing radiation treatments which was sapping his strength and stamina.  She also told me that one of the side effects from his treatments was that he was constantly bleeding from his gums.
You would have never known that he was having any physical issues if you spoke with him on the phone.  Even as a non-Christian that impacted me.
The second happened a couple of years ago.  A gentleman named Robert went home to be with the Lord after a long battle with cancer.  Before that happened though, he humbled me with how much he loved and cared about his family.  Even in the midst of everything he had only two things he wanted me to pray for him about.  And they were,
  1. For his wife. “The fear of my separation by death is weighing greatly” on her.
  2. For his children. That he would “finish well” and they would see by how he died, he truly believed.
That humbled me.
The last instance just happened.  I was speaking at a camp with over 230 high school students.  These are special events that require a lot of energy.  You’ve just got to be on your toes when engaging this generation.
Speaking at Camp Patmos
The extreme humbling came from the family that runs the camp, David and Kristi, they seriously touched my heart.  Please don’t get me wrong.  I LOVED the opportunity to share with the youth and the conversations that occurred were fantastic.  It was a great experience.  But the lead family was extra special.
They’ve been in camp ministry for quite a while now, but they’ve been at this particular camp for about 7 years.  This year is different though because Kristi has stage 4 Cancer.  It has spread throughout her body.  She had just had surgery 3 days prior to my arriving to remover her ovaries.
The thing is, you wouldn’t know it if someone didn’t tell you.  She’s still working, leading the team, preparing everyone for when the youth get there.  And once the youth showed up, Miss Kristi really shined.  You can see her love for the young people just shining through.
I hid tears a couple of times as I watched her interactions with everyone at the camp.  One of those times was during worship.  We were singing:
 
And on that day when my strength is failing.
The end draws near and my time has come.
Still my soul will sing your praise unending.
Ten thousand years and forevermore.
 
As I stood at the back of the room I saw Miss Kristi singing, with her hand raised just glorifying God.  I broke!  I literally prayed, “God, please give me that kind of faith and trust in you!”  I was completely and totally humbled before God.
I don’t know that I have that kind of faith, I sure hope that I do.  I THINK that I do and tell myself that in the midst of a crisis or challenge I would completely trust the Lord.  But until that time comes . . .
Miss Kristi “friended” me on FaceBook after I left camp.  I messaged her, “You humble me Miss Kristi!  Truly humble me.”  Her response broke me again and I felt it would be good to share it with you.
 
“I can’t change Gods plan but I can fight for what is eternal”

 
Carl—I just live knowing this is what God has for me. It wasn’t expected nor what I would choose-to be honest. I get to live my life with the exaggerated truth that I don’t know my days-I can’t change Gods plan but I can fight for what is eternal and what God made good with what He gives me. I wake up knowing I have Today. That’s what I know-and lots of scripture point to that Truth.
What God has taken with this round of diagnosis is my assumptions…I’ll see my grandkids, I’ll live long and do ministry at Dave’s side for years to come….but Truth speaks into that sadness-I really never had those assumptions-I have today. So God is freeing me from my earthly desires even more specific-but very tenderly. Dave preached through Philippians 2 summers ago (he opens the church on Camp Patmos every Sunday and preaches through our summer season to offer those on the island an option of hearing the Bible with gospel living). God was preparing my mind and heart for what was to come 2 years ago! (Thank you Jesus for caring about me so specifically!) Philippians 1:21 To love is Christ, to die is gain. God took me there when this came, and I can stand right in the middle of that verse with confidence. I can’t stray far from it. To live is Jesus! To die is Jesus!! It’s allllll about Jesus. So I wake up Today-what in Today is about Jesus? God is changing me. I am thankful!
God’s people keeping me (and most importantly my family) before the throne of God humbles me. Truly humbles me.

 
I can’t read that letter out loud without breaking.  What a lesson for me to learn.
Maybe you’re dealing with something like this right now or you know someone who is.  The one piece of hope that I can include is that God did not want for this to happen!  He didn’t want my Grandfather, Robert or Miss Kristi to ever have to deal with this terrible disease.  He didn’t want you to deal with whatever it is that you’re dealing with.  What God wanted for us, He gave to us.  And that was perfection.
At the end of the creation week God said that everything was “very good.”  There were no tears, no death and NO CANCER!  That is a consequence of man’s rebellion.  We rebelled against God, every one of us has sinned and brought destruction on ourselves.
But God, He loved us so much that while we were rejecting Him, He made a plan and carried it out so that we may be restored in relationship with Him for all eternity.  While we were rejecting Him, He was being nailed to a cross for us to take our sins so that whosoever believes in Him will have eternal life, and never perish!
I’m praying you’re a “whosoever!”  If you’re not, please make a decision today to turn from the old self that has caused the suffering that we see in the world and turn towards the Lord Jesus Christ who brings hope to the suffering.
May the peace that surpasses all understanding envelop you today and give you comfort and boldness to shine to an increasingly dark world.  Stay Bold!
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