Remember the expression we were taught when learning how to drive, “Aim high in steering”? The thought being that if you focus your gaze far down the road, and not at the end of the hood, you will not overreact to the near and have time to anticipate the far away, before it becomes near.
Proverbs 4:25 Common English Bible (CEB) – Focus your eyes straight ahead; keep your gaze on what is in front of you.
Philippians 3:14 – I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
When we keep our eyes on the prize of Christ Jesus, we focus our gaze heavenward. This plotting an upward course, however, should also keep us from placing blinders on our eyes and stoppers in our ears: We should continue to see the others of God’s children around us; We should always be receptive to hear the cries of the suffering and the lost; we should always welcome the stranger, house the immigrant and feed the hungry. To do so is to be a disciple of Jesus.
Not leaving these basic practices and prayers, we also find peace in knowing that all that happens is under and in God. When trials and disappointments rain down, we are not swept away. Whether the storm is political or personal, if we are grounded in prayer, in reflection on the life of Christ and looking heavenward, we will drive on. Faith is not immunization against life’s circumstances, it is however, a rock solid assurance that we are not alone, will not be left on our own, and that what we can see and experience of this life is not the total of reality. We are in Christ and Christ is in us and we are all connected through the Holy Spirit. Our hope is in the Christ in all and through all.
It is in this faith context that I hope to live and to live eternally…liberated from the fears that can so easily overwhelm and drown my and your Christian based joy. Earlier this week my Doctor called to tell me the tumor removed from the lining of my stomach was cancerous. It contained the same (type?) of pancreatic cancer cells once invading my body. Three weeks of being cancer free got a gut shot! My confidence faltered. I had started to think of the future in a new way after 16 months of cancer treatments. Now, I was hard turned back into a cancer future of further chemo and possibly radiation.
Derailed? Not really. Pitched sideways, yes, but not off track. My future is with a God who loves me and all his children. My present is with the Christ who will never leave me. Guiding my path and placing doctors, nurses, prayer partners and others with insights and skills to guide me, in my Path, is the work of the Holy Spirit.
One foot in front of the other.
Right now, I am scheduled to be at Duke on the 23rd of this month for an appointment with one of my Oncology Doctors to chart a course of treatment. Will know more after that meeting. Until then I continue to recover from yet another major abdominal surgery. Beth and my children are taking good care of me. I appreciate the food and cards and especially the prayers you are sending my way. Please keep others of our church family suffering from illness in your thoughts, prayers and actions as well.
Peace in Christ,