While It Was Still Dark

Encouragement

Sustain Me: Notes on Cancer, encouragement for cancer patients, stage four cancer, stage three cancer

“Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb…”

I crept down stairs two nights ago and peered out the window, while it was still dark. I had caught a stomach bug, and on top of that indignity,  Chloe had to do her business at 2:30 AM. Her nails click-click-clicking woke me up from restless misery as she waddled to the bedroom door.

“Chloe! Get back in bed, now!”

I hissed the command quietly so I would not wake Tom. Sometimes the hotdog obeys and crawls back into her doggie bed. Like she just wants the blanket adjusted by her human. This night she ignored my words, stopped at the bedroom door and wouldn’t look back. She wanted out. Ugh.

It was the night of the Blood Moon. I had considered waking up sometime after 2 AM in hopes of seeing the lunar eclipse but knew our area would not have a good view of the sky. Chloe’s summons tipped the balance in favor of at least trying, and down the steps we went. Clouds were thick overhead and the only thing I saw was … nothing. My nausea enforced the gloom. Chloe did her business, proudly trotted to her bed and went sound asleep.

I tossed and turned and thought some more about the dark; of not knowing if your body will ever feel right again; of other nights when I truly wondered if I would be able to even turn over in bed again; and about another woman creeping through the gloom, long ago, searching for a miracle.

Mary left while it was still dark on the silent streets of Jerusalem. The pitch black before dawn. Reeling from the agonizing death of her Lord, Mary crept to the tomb where Jesus’ body had been laid. How could this be? Multitudes of people had believed in Him and trusted that He was the “Way, the Truth and the Life”. She had watched Jesus work miracles in the lives of ordinary people like you and me. And just when a new political dawn appeared certain after his triumphant entry into Jerusalem (hadn’t the fickle crowds cried, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!”?), Mary had watched the Light of the World, the Prince of Peace, the King of Kings, die a thief’s death on the cross. He was the perfect sacrifice accepted by God and had willingly died to pay for her sin, and mine. And yours.

Darkness brutally snuffed out the Light of the World.

Or did it?

“Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.” John 20:1

The Light of the World arose, and lives to find us in our darkness today. Love keeps piercing the gloom and bringing the hope of the risen Savior to all of us. Have you accepted this Gift that will give you forgiveness from the suffocating weight of sin? That is the only way to gain eternal life with Christ?

“Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John 20:30-31

Like Mary’s hurt-bound belief and against-all-odds joy in finding Jesus alive, I’m holding hope for the day He returns. It’s still dark all around. But my heart tells me dawn is near.

He is risen.

This is What Jesus Told Mary at the Tomb …Click Here

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One of the books I love about our hope in Christ is called “Heaven” by Randy Alcorn. If you’ve read my blog or heard me speak, you may know this book was a tremendous encouragement to me when I went through surgeries, chemo and radiation for stage III & IV colon cancer. At the time of this writing you can get “Heaven: Biblical Answers to Common Questions” free on Amazon.com for Kindle. It’s a brief booklet that will give you an introduction to what the book is about if you’re interested in learning more.

Heaven is, after all, for real.John 11:26 I am the resurrection and the life

 

 

 

 

 

 

Billion Dollar Brackets

General Thoughts

photosustainme_header.jpg“Are you any good at picking NCAA brackets?” I asked hopefully. The guy sitting next to me was sipping  coffee. I watched the ticker running across the television screen announcing that Warren Buffet and Dan Gilbert (owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers) are teaming up to pay one billion dollars. That’s “if” someone can predict, exactly, the outcome of the NCAA tournament. All 32 games with 64 teams, then 16 games, then 8 games, then the Final Four. Chances of winning according to CBS Sports are 1 in 9.2 quintillion. Simple. Simply unattainable.

“I wish,” Tom muttered. He took another sip of his morning coffee and read the paper. I opened my Bible to Isaiah. Our planning session to be the 1 in 9.2 quintillion ended. The dream of winning one billion dollars was tantalizing and unrealistic.

Do you live with cancer or another long-term illness? Love someone who does? Ever feel like you’re picking brackets and hoping for a win? Or like you’re following one of those books popular in junior high? You could choose the end of your story by going in one direction or the other. You could preview every option to control story’s end. In real life all it takes is a wrong decision here, luck of the draw there, and bam. Your bracket loses and your dream seems to dribble away.

bridgeYou do know that you weren’t designed for this place, right? You are worth so much more than billion dollar dreams. Life is designed to move us towards something beyond money and whatever we think a currency windfall can make right on earth. We’re moving towards eternity. It’s hard for your heart to believe past what the eyes can see. So God gave us a gift called faith lived out by an even greater Gift, his only son. Jesus lived among us and walked with us and died for us to make things right. He paid the price for our wrong decisions, our wrong turns, our sin. He’s alive and he’s the only Way over a black bottomless chasm of mis-picked life brackets and eternal regrets.

God has good things planned for us. No perfect brackets required.

“Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you.” Job 22:21-22

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

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