Friday, June 24, 2005

The Hardest Verse in the Bible

Ugh! Like the chest pain that I wake up to.
I don't want to take that first breath. I know it's going to hurt. It's so common now that I do it without thinking - I wince and suck it in. Ugh! Couple more times now. Ugh! And then it subsides. That wasn't so bad. I get over it pretty quickly, but it always seems to start my day in a bad way.

Someone stopped by the house and dropped off a package for me. I know who it was - they signed their names. But it was really God in them. They don't know that, but I do. I know because when I opened the package it was God who came out of it. He can speak so clearly through others voices and actions sometimes that it stuns me.

And He brought me back to the verses. The hardest ones. The ones that I've never really understood. Or maybe I have and I just want to say that I don't. Certainly I don't get them completely. You know the verses I bet. As soon as you hear them you'll remember. Maybe they plagued you too. Probably.

But that wasn't enough for God today. No. Today He had a plan to really set me up for them.
Reading today in Numbers 11 - the people of Isreal travelling through the desert for the first time complained about their hardships. No kidding. Anyone in their sandals would. And God gets angry with them. He burns the outskirts of the camp in anger. Literally. Till Moses prayed for them - interceded. And God relents.

Wow! That was powerful to me! I'm pondering that for an hour in prayer. Just letting it soak in and having some conversation with God about this story as I go for an early morning walk with Him. And when I come back I see this package in the mail and I open it and out comes God.

Romans 5:3-4 - We rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverence; perseverence, character; and character, hope. (Just like James 1:3)

What have I been begging God for in my suffering? Hope! I've been begging for a biopsy date to confirm/deny this whole cancer thing. Now I have one on Monday morning. I'm praying for a negative biopsy - no cancer. Man, am I ever praying. Desperately. Crying. Pleading. Shamelessly at times. Like a man with a death sentence hanging over him. Like an Israelite in the dying desert. Although I'm told to prepare myself for a confirmation of cancer. Against the odds I'm looking for something to hold to. Hope! If it's confirmed to be cancer what am I to do? I need some hope to cling to. There are some really dark moments in my early morning thoughts as the first few breaths come to me and the Ugh! hits me hard. All my worst fears come rushing at me. They seem to attack at once and there are times I don't put up much defence. I'm overwhelmed and I just break down. I'm reaching for something in the darkness. Ugh.

And the hardest verse in the Bible comes with God's promise - hope!
Set up by a story I've been pondering for an hour.
What attitude will I choose for today? To rejoice in my sufferings!

There's a card in the package. It's signed by a person, but I recognize the signature of God.
"The need that you face is great,
but the grace that is yours in Christ is even greater.
May your heart and your faith
stay fixed upon Him as you
go through this difficulty.
Be assured that He is holding
your hand and will not let go!"

Then, in the card, the promise of an intercessor.
It wasn't signed by Moses, but it might as well have been.
Someone interceded for me and the fire stopped burning my edges. The Lord relented His anger with my complaining. And I learned a lesson. I'm choosing to rejoice today. In my suffering! And I believe it's going to produce hope!

O Lord, hold my hand! I'll fix my eyes on You!


At June 24, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since we spoke in your office last Sunday, you and Janet have been on my mind and in my prayers constantly. I confess --I don't really understand the why of this journey you are on -- but thank you for the words you are sharing with us. God speaks loudly through them. I have walked this path with so many people but this time the journey is different because you are my pastor and my friend and I love your children.

Yesterday I went for a walk along the river to see the rising waters for myself. As I stood watching the power and force of the volumes of water I was drawn to the picture of a tree standing 3 or 4 yards out in the river. It stood in the midst of the raging turbulent waters unmoved by the forces ripping at it's trunk. It's roots deeply sunk in the rock of the riverbed. It's trunk unmoving. It's upper branches still, except when moved by the occasional breeze. What a beautiful visual of the relationship we have with our Father. As the struggles of living on this earth rip at our minds and our bodies --God our rock --with a love beyond our human understanding--hangs onto our roots. Dwayne, know that you are in God's loving hands--He is aware of the beating you are taking and He cares deeply how you and your family are doing. Even when you can't feel Him with you --trust Him--He has promised to never leave you nor forsake you. Today I pray that God will drench you with the comfort only a father can give, Bless you with a peace that will allow your spirit to find rest and fill you with a fresh knowing that He has your roots snuggly in His hands. It is His strength that will help you to stand in the face of the raging waters. Surrender to the supply of His strength--it will be enough for this day......

At June 24, 2005, Blogger Chris said...

Dear Dwayne,
You don't know me, but I just wanted to let you know that I will be praying for you & your wife.
God bless

At June 24, 2005, Anonymous Darren said...

"O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be."
- George Matheson 6th June 1882

At June 24, 2005, Blogger Gil Klassen said...

thanks for bringing us into this journey through your blog. I will read it often and pray for you and your family as I read.
this is a great reminder of how easily we let life slip right through our fingers.
Blessings, Gil

At June 24, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Dwayne and family.

A friend asked me to take a moment and read your journal.
A number of years back my family prayed almost non stop for his wife to recieve the gift of a new heart so that she could continue her journey as a wife and mother.
Today our family, with an understanding that God does answer prayer, will pray for you and for your family. We are blessed to be part of a community that can pray and ask for God's strength to lead your every hour, every day.

You will be in our thoughts and prayers.

Sandra, Deke and family

At June 24, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your journey is touching the hearts of so many... more each day.. and we are praying! I am praying for both you and Janet as you walk in this valley. The news of your illness is spreading by mouth, email, & phone through your parent church, West Portal, and we are lifting you, pleading for you, interceding for you..even when you and Janet can only groan, we will be holding you in prayer! Please know this and let our prayers surround you, for the power is mighty and the Lord's arm is not too short.
God bless you!
Peggy King

At June 24, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dwayne and Janet,
Years ago you asked me to be in prayer for the ministry and people of LHMB. I have, especially because you pledged to keep your prayer partners updated through your weekly newsletter or e-mail.

Now I will keep updated through your blog as well. As I read about your journey I had to reflect on some of my own personal struggles facing the "C" word back in '98. Reading your thoughts and feelings, however, has moved and touched me in some unknown, unquantifiable way. Dwayne, your words struck to the very core of my heart and soul. I revisited the "numb" zone -- like you said - "surreal" but anything but serene.

God has given you an ability to write, and to write powerfully in word pictures to the heart. We both know the answers theologically, but how much God knows we need comfort from Him relationally. God has purposed, prepared and provided an incredible group of people to surround you, Janet and children for a time such as this.

Dwayne, we are holding you before a glorious throne of grace. You have prayed for so many in times such as this. You have walked with others through their valleys and now others desire to walk with you.

May you continue to use the pen as you record this journey of faith. Your pastor's heart is so evident. Thanks for allowing others to minister to you, and then sharing God's great lessons through this actions of love and concern.

We stand on the Word, rest in the Word and sometimes have to be carried by the Word when we have no strength to do so on our own.

Bro. Dwayne, I want to thank you again for your imparting the Word to my heart in living form.
G & B Guarnett

At June 24, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dearest Dwayne,

It may be hard to see right now but God is using you in an incredible way. You are touching the lives of many through your journal and are giving us the unbelievable opportunity to hold you up in prayer. God is always faithful, never changing. Thank you for letting us in to this hard path you are walking and take comfort in the fact that many are on thier knee's interceding for you and your family. We will remember your mom, dad and brother as well in our prayers.
your life long friend in Him

At June 26, 2005, Blogger Ed and Diane Cooper said...

Dwayne, Janet, Ashlyn and Tyler.
We are praying for you all as you face this major monster in your lives at this time. We are praying for you as you face each day during your journey. We love you and remember you from West Portal, from your input in our lives, your energetic spirit from God and your eagerness to be used of God in His Will and His way for your lives. God is in control, He is Sovereign, He loves you, He knows your hearts, He has surrounded you with His arms of comfort, peace and hope. God is our healer, we are praying for God's Hand to be upon you all. Let us know if you need a listening ear in your journey at this time. God can overrule the medical. We love you and your family, blessings of God be upon you, Ed and Diane Cooper

At July 01, 2005, Blogger Big Chief said...

Just heard the news from my parents. Hey! We'll be praying for ya both with your fight with Cancer and with keeping the chin up with the job thing. I know that is, I love my job too and would go crazy to sit at home. Sorry I don't have any cool verses...

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