Sep 20

Celebrating My 28th A.C. (After Cancer) Birthday!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s blog is a little unusual, but my birthday is Sunday and once you’ve had cancer (especially at the age of 36) you look at birthdays differently. You give up complaining about getting older and instead, realize that aging is a privilege you almost didn’t get. Every A.C. birthday is a wonderful chance to celebrate and thank God for the gift of life..

So…this is my last birthday before Medicare and I know all of my 1,047 FB friends and hundreds of blog subscribers are wondering “What should I get Lynn Eib for her birthday? I mean she already has EVERYTHING a woman could want: Dashing, debonair husband with two brand new knees. Gorgeous daughters who only make fun of her in months with 28 days. The world’s most wonderful grandchildren who allow her to constantly hug and kiss them until they are old enough to run.“

I mean what could you possibly get me that I don’t already have? A new hairdo not from the ‘60s? Typing lessons so I write books with more than four fingers? A cat who doesn’t puke all over the house?

These are all great suggestions and I plan on starting Go Fund Me pages for each, but they’re not really what I want for my birthday. What I want…and really need…are Amazon.com reviews for my new book Peace in the Face of Cancer.  I know…you’re disappointed that this gift won’t cost you anything. It’s irritating that you don’t have to drive somewhere and wait in line to purchase it. And I’m sure you are really bummed that it’s only going to take about five minutes of your time to give me this gift. I’m sorry, but this is what I really want.

Just like the Jelly-of-the-Month Club, a review is the gift that keeps on giving. It helps other readers decide to buy the book, which in turn improves the book’s sales rank, which increases its visibility on Amazon.com. Once I sell a lot more books, I can afford a new hairdresser. I can pay for typing lessons. And I’ll have enough money to hire a hit-man to take out my cat. (BTW that’s a joke, I love my puking cat.)

Oh, and more cancer patients and their caregivers will discover how to foster peace in their own homes and lives, as well as how to find God’s supernatural peace in their hearts and minds regardless of the medical prognosis. Hurting people will feel peace in the face of cancer.

And maybe, just maybe, in God’s grace, lost people will find Jesus. That’s what I really want for my birthday.

P.S. Here’s the link, and remember, in case you’re in the witness protection program, you don’t have to post under your real name!  https://www.amazon.com/Peace-Face-Cancer-Lynn-Eib/dp/1496417984/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1501528971&sr=1-1&keywords=Lynn+Eib

(I’m pretty sure most of the people in this music video are 84, not 64, but enjoy it anyway!)

Sep 13

A Cheerful Heart Causes Good Healing

 

 

 

 

 

 

Done any “internal jogging” lately?

That’s the phrase some researchers use to describe the therapeutic benefit of laughter because it increases our heart rate much like physical exercise does. I don’t know about you, but I like the idea of “yucking” it up much better than the notion of taking a run.

When I was first diagnosed with cancer as a young wife and mother, I honestly wondered if I would ever really laugh again. Life felt so very serious and it was hard to imagine having a really good belly laugh over anything.

That’s why when I came home from the hospital; I sent my husband directly to the video store (remember them?) to get me every “Pink Panther” movie he could find. You may not enjoy Peter Seller’s slapstick comedy as the bumbling Inspector Clouseau, but I always have found it impossible to watch and not laugh.

So I watched them all. I laughed through them all. And it was very good medicine.

Now I am not one who believes laughter always can cure what ails you, but I definitely believe the proverb that tells us “a cheerful heart is good medicine.” My Bible footnotes say the literal translation is “a cheerful heart causes good healing.”

It is a real understatement to say that cancer (or any other serious illness) isn’t very funny. But it’s not an overstatement to say that we can find joy and even laughter in the midst of theses trials. You have to look for it and sometimes you have to even create it for yourself (go ahead and rent some funny movies!).

If you can’t think of anything funny or a reason to be cheerful, try this one from Psalm 118:24: This is the day the LORD has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it!”

Every day is a gift from God. The fact that you are alive is reason enough to rejoice. You can show love and be loved. No matter what else happens–or doesn’t happen–go ahead and be glad in today. It will be good medicine. And here’s a prayer you may want to pray today (based on Nehemiah 8:10 and Numbers 6:24-26):

Lord, I pray that You will give me a cheerful heart, in spite of all I’ve gone through and all that still is ahead. I know I don’t have to just smile, pretend I’m happy and that everything is all right. But I do want to feel Your quiet joy in me and even hear laughter from my lips. I want to remember that there is life after and even with a serious illness.

Please help me to heed Nehemiah’s words not to be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is my strength. And Holy Spirit, please develop in me the fruit of joy—a joy that’s not based on my circumstances, but on my relationship with my Father. Let it be a joy that is simply grateful for the gift of another day to love and be loved.

I pray, Lord, that You will bless me and protect me. That You will smile on me and be gracious to me. And that You will show me Your favor and give me Your peace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Today’s Tip: Remember it’s impossible to tickle yourself, so get some help to tickle your funny bone—watch a comedy, browse a store’s humorous greeting card section or hang out with a funny friend. Laughter, like yawning is contagious! (Check out today’s “Laughing Song”–no amazing lyrics, just puppets yucking it up 🙂 )

(This blog is adapted from a devotional I had published in the book Praying through Cancer:Set Your Heart Free from Fear, copyright 2006 Susan Sorensen and Laura Geist, W Publishing Co., a division of Thomas Nelson Inc.)

(If the music video doesn’t automatically load, please copy, paste and insert this link to enjoy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5V-I5Wy334&list=RDq5V-I5Wy334#t=1 )

 

Sep 06

Come sit in the E.R. with me

 

 

 

 

 

 

These halls are quiet on a Sunday morning with only the sound of monitors to echo in the silence of large emergency room.

Not this again. I am tired of this place.

It’s been a while since I’ve stood here, and yet it comes right back as if it were but a minute past. The too quiet of suppressed discomfort and fear, the too still of exhaustion, all mixed into the smell of sterility and latex.

“Are they going to do anything that hurts me, Mom?”

“No, son.” I hope not, son.

Chase is seven now. He’s five whole years past the first minute we heard the awful words “There’s a large mass”. He’s five whole years into his aggressive, malignant brain and spine tumors and his eye problems and his heart and hearing issues, and every other issue that seems to walk hand-in-hand with that cancer word.

Every time he is wheeled into the MRI, the news comes that his status remains “No Evidence of Disease”, but the magnetic resonance can’t quite pick up on the evidence of pain, suffering, brokenness, and exhaustion.

This Sunday morning, the rest of the family is at church and Chase and I, we sit in the darkened ER room not because he’s had a seizure, or a relapse, or even a headache. Oh no, we sit in this space because his face is swelling and it needs to be stopped. The doctor explains in matter-of-fact tones that the airways are crucial and swelling is sometimes bad for breathing.

And my balding boy’s face swells and grows some more against cheeks tinged pink with fevers because when you’ve had ten different chemotherapies and radiation and everything but the kitchen sink thrown at your body when you could barely walk, well, sometimes your immune system decides to go A.W.O.L. over a cavity. One little cavity that goes rogue and becomes an abscess and then suddenly we are sitting in the ER on a Sunday morning instead of going to church. Again.

I want to fight it. I don’t want this to be how the day goes.

And yet, isn’t this the way of it all too often when it comes to life and cancer? The big things are sometimes the easiest to accept because they just straight-up rob you of breath and heart beats and feel so inevitable in their “bigness”. It’s the little things like the port that occludes, the eyelashes that fall out, the random side effect or the ninety-seventh time to the ER that just wastes away at my patience and my faith. The little foxes in the vineyard of the faith marriage between my Savior and me [Song of Solomon 2:15] are beeping monitors, sticky IV needles, and the nurses who say “Okay, we just have one more set of questions for you here.” Make it stop, please Lord.

So many times I have prayed to be delivered from the awful repeat of the hospital day. So many times the answer is no. And quite a handful of times the answer is no and there’s more.

So many wild cards…

And yet, here’s the thing and don’t miss it…

Jesus is in charge of the wild cards. In truth, the wild is not wild to him. “To [God] the night shines bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you.” It only looks upside-down and inside-out to us.

So where do you go when it’s the ninety-seventh hit in a row on your patience and faith is feeling really thin and worn?

I’m so glad you asked. Come sit in the ER with me – in these uncomfortable chairs – and we will review what we know to be true. Because I need to hear it again…and maybe you do too?

God is good even when He doesn’t do what we ask: “Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness’.” [2 Corinthians 12:8-9a]

God sees things we cannot see: “Now we see things imperfectly like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely just as God now knows me completely.” [1 Corinthians 13:12]

God is for us: “The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” [Exodus 14:14]

And here’s why I lay these verses down again and again even though they hold no help for radiation-rotten teeth, and no cure for a 7-year-old desperately broken by a tragic disease. Here’s why: because I may never get the answers I want on this side of heaven. I may never see the healing I desire, the miracles I crave, and the next time I pray not to go to the ER, there’s a very real chance that I could end up with Chase admitted instead – because this is the way of the cancer world: two steps back for every one slow shuffle forward.

But this: God’s words are sharper than the sharpest scalpel and cleave through everything that holds us back from his love. And God’s promises are more tried and true than the best treatments the cutting edge of research has to offer. And sometime, someday, though the hair might fall, and the skin color fade, this word of the Lord is forever and ever, AMEN.

In Christ alone, our hope is found.

So wherever you are this week, whatever you’ve asked to be released from, whatever you just can’t possibly do one more time, actually, YOU CAN.

“For when I am weak, then I am strong”…IN CHRIST. [2 Corinthians 12:10]

Thank you so much for stepping into the ER room with me. Until we step into the throne room of our precious Jesus, and I get to meet you, we will take this life as it comes in grace… moment by moment.

 

TODAY’S GUEST BLOGGER is Ellie Poole Ewoldt, a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friendHer days are spent in the craziness of caring for four little kids, one of whom is a cancer survivor.  www.chaseawaycancer.com

 

 

 

 

 

Aug 30

Here’s My Prayer for You…

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know those of you who read this blog have many prayers on your heart. Prayers for yourself and prayers for those you love.

The song below is more than a wish–it’s my prayer for you, not just today, but every day. It’s an “old” song I love by Scott Wesley Brown and I’ve posted two different versions–the original with added beautiful photos from nature. And a remake from Scott’s “Out of Africa” CD with no video. Both versions have a long instrumental intro, but don’t give up, the lyrics are coming! (All that “waiting” reminds me that often we pray and don’t see the answers coming nearly as soon as we would like!)

So either enjoy some of God’s beauty or close your eyes and just feel His presence. Either way, please let me “wish”–and pray Jesus for you.

 

 

 

 

Aug 23

Searching for a 100-percent Guarantee

 

 

 

 

 

 

I remember back in 1990 when doctors told me I had about a 40- or 50-percent chance of surviving my colon cancer, which had metastasized to several lymph nodes. I felt as if someone were going to toss a coin: heads, I live; tails, I don’t.

I desperately wanted some kind of guarantee that if I was going to put myself through a year’s worth of weekly chemotherapy; I was going to be okay. But there was no such guarantee.

There were plenty of “helpful” people who offered me other kinds of “guarantees:”

 

Eat certain natural foods and you will be cured.

Drink a certain tea and you will be cured.

Take certain vitamin supplements and you will be cured.

 

But I am at heart a skeptical former newspaper reporter and I knew there was no way all these methods really could deliver what they were promising, especially since many of their recommendations were directly opposed to one another!

I wanted to believe that one of them really was the answer, but which one was it and what if I picked the wrong one? Which had the 100-percent guarantee that I could trust?

And then I remembered.

“Some trust in chariots (food and drink) and some in horses (vitamins and herbs),
But we trust in the name of the LORD our God.” Psalm 20:7  (italics mine)

 

It wasn’t which had an ironclad guarantee; it was Who. My diagnosis, my treatment, my prognosis…and my future were in His hands and I had His guaranteed promise that when I put my hope in Him I would not be disappointed.

Then you will know that I am the LORD; those who hope in me will not be disappointed.  Isaiah 49:23

Don’t stress yourself out trying to find the “magic cure” for cancer or some other serious illness—it doesn’t exist. If you do add complementary therapies to your treatment, discuss them with your physician and choose things that will strengthen your body, mind and spirit.

And here’s a prayer guaranteed to supernaturally empower you on your journey:

Heavenly Father, Please forgive me for rushing about trying to find something that will give me complete assurance and guarantees. I know better than that. I know that the things of this world are very temporary—even cures for disease don’t last forever. I don’t want to spend my time chasing after these things, but instead I want to seek You with all my heart.

Help me to remember that no matter how many times I am cured, I still am going to die someday and when that happens if I am a true Christ-follower, I really will be more alive than I have ever been! Please keep me from putting my trust and my hope in anything but You. I humbly ask these things in the name of Jesus, the One who died for my sins. Amen.

(This blog is adapted from a devotional I had published in the book Praying through Cancer:Set Your Heart Free from Fear, copyright 2006 Susan Sorensen and Laura Geist, W Publishing Co., a division of Thomas Nelson Inc.)

**Don’t miss today’s original song by California youth pastor, Jason David, who had most of his tongue removed because of cancer and yet continues to sing God’s praise http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2017/july/cancer-took-most-of-his-tongue-but-this-pastor-is-still-singing-gods-praise ) **

(If the music video below doesn’t automatically load, please copy, paste and click on this link to enjoy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ga_m8wqg3us )

 

Aug 16

Is Jesus REALLY Enough?

 

 

 

 

 

My cancer diagnosis  in 1990 was especially upsetting to my husband because he had lost his first wife nearly 20 years before to ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) while they were still newlyweds. To watch me then face a life-threatening illness and an uncertain future was more than he felt he could bear.

One day as he was riding home from the hospital after visiting me during my post-surgical stay, he came upon a car with a bumper sticker that read:

As a seminary graduate, my husband theologically knew the right answer to that question. And as a longtime pastor, he often had preached the affirmative answer to that query. But that day he was so overcome with worry and fear of losing yet another wife that he wondered out loud: “Is He really?” “Is Jesus really enough?”

 

Have you asked that same question?

If I lose a breast…is Jesus enough?

If I get sick during treatments…is Jesus enough?

If I lose my hair to chemo…is Jesus enough?

If I have to quit work…is Jesus enough?

And worst of all, if the cure doesn’t come…is Jesus really enough?

 

My husband answered that question for himself two weeks later when he stepped into the pulpit on Sunday morning and preached one of his most powerful sermons ever, entitled “Jesus is Enough.” In it, he reminded all of us—and himself—that God doesn’t need to do another thing for us on this earth. He has given us His one and only Son, and in Him we have everything we need to cope with this life and every promise for eternal life. No matter what else does, or doesn’t happen to us, God doesn’t need to do another thing to prove to us that indeed, Jesus is enough.

 

Dear Jesus, It feels unfair to have to face this illness after I’ve tried so hard to live for You. And then I remember that You lived completely for your Father and life still was very unfair to You. I’m glad You understand what I’m feeling and most of all, I’m so grateful that Your presence living in me is enough for me. Please help me deal with the changes that this disease is bringing into my life/my loved one’s life. I pray they all will be temporary ones and that health will be restored completely. But even if it’s not, I pray that my soul will be satisfied in You alone. I pray all this in Your name. Amen.

Today’s Tip: Listen for the word “ENOUGH” in conversations and when you hear it, remind yourself that Jesus IS enough.

(This blog is adapted from a devotional I had published in the book Praying through Cancer:Set Your Heart Free from Fear, copyright 2006 Susan Sorensen and Laura Geist, W Publishing Co., a division of Thomas Nelson Inc.)

I know I included this same song recently, but I LOVE it and it fits better than any other I could find–please enjoy it again! 🙂 

(If the music video doesn’t automatically load, please copy, paste and insert this link to enjoy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6fA35Ved-Y&list=RDB6fA35Ved-Y )

Aug 09

Serious Illness: An Unwelcome Intruder

 

 

 

 

 

Serious illness is an unwelcome intruder in any person’s life, but for those of us who are organized, well-prepared planners, it can be especially unpleasant.

I’ve always felt you can ward off a lot of problems in life but anticipating them ahead of time. You know, take an umbrella with you in case it rains. Always have restaurant coupons with you in the car in case there’s a last-minute decision to go out to eat. Have an extra wrapped gift at Christmas in case someone gives you one that you weren’t expecting! You get the idea.

Then BAM! cancer hit me at the age of 36 from out of nowhere. I always had been so healthy I hadn’t even had a cold in four years. Cancer didn’t “run” in my family, as I was the first to get such a diagnosis. In fact, I was so young the American Cancer Society didn’t even recommend I get screened for colon cancer for another 14 years! I certainly hadn’t anticipated this and it was too late to get prepared now.

And then something else hit me.

This diagnosis did not take God by surprise. He saw it coming and although I wish He had stopped it from touching me, He was not unprepared to battle it. In fact He would equip me with everything I needed to battle this disease physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

The same is true for you or your loved one’s diagnosis. God is not surprised. He is not unprepared. He will equip you with whatever you need to face this unwelcome intruder.

“And everyone will know that the Lord does not need weapons to rescue his people. It is his battle, not ours.” 1 Samuel 17:47

Here is a prayer you might wish to pray today (based on Ephesians 6:10-17):

Dear Lord, I come to you acknowledging that I don’t like the fact this diagnosis has taken me by surprise. It makes me feel anxious and out of control because I didn’t see it coming and I feel woefully unprepared. And yet I also acknowledge that I believe You are not surprised or anxious and You are very much in control. Help me to put on Your armor each day: the belt of Your truth, the shield of Your righteousness, the shoes of Your peace, the helmet of Your salvation and the sword of Your Spirit. Then I know I will be ready to battle this unwelcome intruder. And most of all I will not be afraid because it really is Your battle and I will trust You to fight through me so that I will not be defeated by this unseen enemy. Thank You, Holy Spirit, that I don’t need to be in control to battle this—I just need to be controlled by You. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

(This blog is adapted from a devotional I had published in the book Praying through Cancer:Set Your Heart Free from Fear, copyright 2006 Susan Sorensen and Laura Geist, W Publishing Co., a division of Thomas Nelson Inc.)

(If the music video doesn’t automatically load, please copy, paste and insert this link to enjoy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7x2IpLSfqp8 )

Aug 02

How have you NOT wasted your cancer?

 

 

 

 

I love hearing from cancer survivors and their caregivers about ways they have found to not waste the suffering/trials/changes/hardships/sorrow cancer brings.

Some have walked in relays to raise money for cancer research. Some have volunteered to transport patients to medical appointments. Some have organized bone marrow drives to find matching donors. Some have started cancer prayer support groups, while others have attended those meetings offering encouragement to newcomers. Some have given away many copies of my books to hurting people in need of hope (thank you!)

Some of accomplished big endeavors like starting a boutique for women cancer patients or making thousands of cozy quilts for patients in treatment. Still others have accomplished small things with great love, like taking a meal to a weary friend or sending an inspirational card to another.

To all of you, I say thank you for not wasting your cancer–for allowing God to use this unwanted journey to mold you and make you more like Jesus.

To those who are still wondering how not to waste this trial, I encourage you to read the essay “Don’t Waste Your Cancer” by pastor/author John Piper, written on the eve of his prostate cancer surgery in 2006. ( http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/dont-waste-your-cancer ) In it he shares 10 ways not to waste your cancer. Below is #3:

“You will waste your cancer if you seek comfort from your odds rather than from God.
The design of God in your cancer is not to train you in the rationalistic, human calculation of odds. The world gets comfort from their odds. Not Christians. Some count their chariots (percentages of survival) and some count their horses (side effects of treatment), but we trust in the name of the Lord our God (Psalm 20:7). God’s design is clear from 2 Corinthians 1:9, “We felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” The aim of God in your cancer (among a thousand other good things) is to knock props out from under our hearts so that we rely utterly on him.”

Lord,  Life has broken us. Please spill us out to be supernaturally used by You to help ourselves and others know and love you more.

(If the music video doesn’t automatically load, please copy, paste and click on this link to enjoy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BiM57qZZuGM )

 

Jul 26

Why Does God Allow Suffering?

 

 

 

This has to be one of the most difficult questions we can ask.
Why do children get cancer?
Why does a young woman fight for her life while an elderly woman prays to die?
Why do some people have so many trials and others have so few?
Why do brilliant minds get dementia?
Why does one person walk away from an accident unhurt and another is paralyzed for life?

Volumes have been written on this topic and I have been enlightened especially by the works of C.S. Lewis and Philip Yancey. But because neither of them is available today to write this blog 🙂 , I’d like to share three reasons God may be allowing suffering in your life or the life of someone you love. These reasons are based on the book For Those Who Hurt by Charles Swindoll, copyright 1977, published by Multnomah Press.

 

Why God Allows Suffering in Our Lives

  1. That we might be prepared to comfort others.

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NLT)

 

2. That we might not trust in ourselves.

We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we never would live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. We have placed our confidence in him and he will continue to rescue us. 2 Corinthians 1:8-10 (NLT)

 

3. That we might learn to give thanks in all things.

And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety. 2 Corinthians 1:11 (NLT)

 

I certainly can’t make sense of your/your loved one’s suffering for you, but I hope you will ask God if one of these is might be”the reason” for the suffering. I believe that knowing our suffering has a purpose can make it easier to bear. Perhaps Shannon Wexelberg’s words in the music video will resonate with your weary heart: If I had my way every time I called to Heaven, would I know Him like I know Him today? While I’ve waited so long, He’s been working all along…Could it be He is using all this in my life? Could it be this prayer I’ve prayed is not quite what He’s after? And I will find He’s done a different kind of miracle in my life.

(If the music video below doesn’t automatically load, please copy, paste and click on this link to enjoy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yk-omRWod7c )

 

Jul 19

Does Following Jesus Make Everything OK?

 

 

 

 

“Why I Follow Christ”
Reprinted by permission from Believe in Miracles, But Trust in Jesus by Adrian Rogers, Crossway Books, 1997. (Taken from a letter Dr. Rogers’ friend wrote to his own daughter–Emphasis mine.)

I have not seen clear statistical evidence that fewer Christians die of cancer than nonbelievers, or that they are immune in greater degree from the diseases that afflict the human race.  Some of the kindest, most selfless persons I know have had more than their share of bad health.  The fact that they belonged to Christ did not insulate them from disease.  Therefore, I will not follow Christ for promised healing.

I will not deny or dispute evidence of restoration of health.  I will rejoice at every recovery from what seems to be hopeless, threatened death.  I will not hesitate to pray for recovered health for my loved ones and acquaintances.  I will set no limits on what God may do.  But I will not follow Christ for promised healing.

I see no sign that Christians escape disaster and accident more than others.  I have helped dear friends empty muddy water out of dresser drawers and new appliances after a disastrous flood.  I remember as a child taking clothes to a widow with five children whose house had burned to the ground.  A bullet makes no detour around the body of a believer.  Therefore, I will not follow Christ for any promised protection from disaster.

I will not scoff at amazing survivals, nor deny providence has and continues to work for the good of God’s own.  I will continue to pray for protection from wicked men and tragedy, but I will not follow Christ for promised protection from accident or catastrophe.

I do not observe that Christians are especially favored with prosperity.  Like James, we have all seen the rich oppressing the poor, and justice is rarely perfect in this world.  The psalmist has said that he had not seen the righteous forsaken or his seed begging for bread, and in the deepest needs of this life that is certainly true; but all of us have known people of integrity who have not prospered.  Therefore, I will not follow Christ for promised freedom from physical want or the hope of affluence.

I am not certain that Christians have stronger personalities or fewer neuroses than nonbelievers.  I do know that there is no bitterness like religious bitterness and no arrogance more insufferable.  I have watched Christians suffer emotional and mental disabilities.  And although it may seem heretical, I am not sure that I would really enjoy living in the same house with either the apostle Paul or Peter.

God wills that the mind of Christ be formed in us, and there is no doubt in my mind that the Christian’s attitudes and actions will be improved by his Christianity.  But I will not follow Christ for any promise of personality enhancement or perfection.

Why then follow Christ? Why be a disciple of Jesus when life becomes more complicated, as He so often warned?

For one reason alone.  In Jesus we behold the face of God.  He is the truth, the everlasting truth, God in the flesh.  I know that in His life, death and resurrection I am reconciled to God, the Giver of life.  I believe that nothing can separate me from the love of God.  He has all power and goodness.  I trust Him in His promises.

To Him I offer my life, damaged or whole, brief or full of years.  It matters not.  He is the one certain thing in an uncertain world.  He is to be worshipped, not so something will happen to me or the world (something already has happened to me and the world) but because He is God, who through Christ has reconciled the world to Himself.  He saves me; He is my justification; He is the center that holds.

To worship the God of our salvation, to offer sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving, that alone is our vocation.  We offer our lives to God, not so as to be healthy, wealthy or wise; not even so as to gain strength to do great things for Him.  We offer our lives to Him because He alone has claim on us.  God is not a means.

(If the music video below doesn’t automatically load, please copy, paste and click on this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0fZ-tBR7LJ0 )

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