Friday, June 24, 2011

Take Jesus at His Word and Depart

Book Give Away: Leave a comment to possibly win a copy of my newest book: A Still and Quiet Soul: Embracing Contentment. You can read more of my friend's journey in chapter seven.
“My friend Bev.” That sounds like the title to a children’s story, but it’s not. Bev is a brave, great grandmother, who has battled cancer for eight years. I met her in California in 2006 where she attended a class I taught, “Praying in the Name of Jesus.” I later flew to her home state of Tennessee because she arranged for me to keynote at her home congregations’ annual women’s renewal.

            We have emailed back and forth, phoned each other, and we reunited again this May on the Pepperdine University Campus, and I finally got to meet her sweetheart, John, to whom she’s been married for over 50 years. Beverly again attended a presentation I made when Leafwood Publishers launched my newest Bible study book, “A Still and Quiet Soul: Embracing Contentment.” I didn’t want readers to just “hear” my voice and conclusions about contentment. Rather, I wanted readers to hear from others who had struggled with inner peace and arrived at a better place. So I included twelve personal essays written by three men and nine women (one of those men, “The Courier’s” own Mark Hayter), and Beverly’s essay is among those.

            During her fourth episode with cancer in the fall of 2009, Beverly began writing a blog about her journey with the dreadful disease. Her posts can be found at . Between reading each other’s blogs, personal emails, and talking by phone, we’ve kept our friendship updated. This May on our mutual visit to Malibu, California, she and I discussed compiling her newsy, history-laced, faith-filled blog into a memoir for her family or for wider distribution, if the Lord leads to that. When she returned to Tennessee, she experienced more pain, and her doctors diagnosed that the cancer is spreading. She can’t have any more surgery, so she faces more chemo or other treatments. Naturally, Bev wants to live, but part of the reason she undergoes the many experimental treatments is to further medical research and perhaps give another person the opportunity to live and regain their health.    

            I told you about Bev because rubbing shoulders with her faith has strengthened mine. Her cancer is not the only tough battle she has faced in life. She and John reared a mentally challenged son, Johny. Read more details of those blessings and challenges in her blog and in my book. Today, I told you about Beverly because of a story I read in the Bible this week, where one phrase captured my heart, reminded me of her, and led me to a better way of living out my faith.

Jesus returned to Cana, Galilee after the Feast of the Passover in Jerusalem, and a distraught, royal ruler from Capernaum, Galilee approached Jesus with a request for his son’s healing. He “begged him to come and heal his son, who was close to death” (John 4: 47). For this occasion, Jesus chose a long-distance miracle rather than traveling to the boy’s bedside. After Jesus made a comment about miracle seekers and belief, the father again urged, “Sir, come down before my child dies” (vs. 49).

Jesus replied, “You may go. Your son will live.” Here’s the verse that impacted my heart and caused me to further admire this father: “The man took Jesus at his word and departed.” He believed, walked away, and started down the road toward his home. Could I do that? Could I accept Jesus’ words as truth, especially in the dire situation of life or death? Before that daddy ever reached Capernaum, he met his servants on their way to find him and they had tremendous news. His son thrived! The dad asked when his son began to recover, and the servants said, “The fever left him yesterday at the seventh hour.” The dad recognized it was the exact time Jesus said, “Your son will live” (vss. 50-54). Then his household believed, too.

The dad’s complete faith at ‘taking Jesus at his word” and turning away from Jesus and beginning his journey toward Capernaum helped me. How many times have I just needed to take Jesus at his word and depart from worry, hand wringing, and sleepless nights? Many of you are good at taking Jesus at his word and departing with faith instead of worry, but I still need much growth in that area.

I pray for Bev and any of you who struggle with similar troubles. May God bless you with assurance from Jesus, our always faithful brother. My friend Bev lives out her story of faith each day, and she summed up her outlook on trusting Jesus when she said to me, “I’m just living from scan to scan from grace to grace.”

May we all be as gracious to want the best for our neighbors and to surrender ourselves to the purposes of God.

Index Card Verse for Week 25: “You should not look down on your brother in the day of his misfortune….nor boast so much in the day of their calamity” (Obadiah 1:12-13).

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:59 PM

    I always run short of contentment and could certainly use a reminder of it's importance. Thank you for the chance to win this book. Tisha
    tishacleveland (at) bellsouth (dot) net