This morning, when I awoke, I came to the computer as per usual, and first opened up my emails. This is the essence of the most important words that have come to me today.
When I edited The Purpose of Life Part 2 last night before going to bed, I was adding a few thoughts of my own, that by and large were not necessary, since my friend Joshua had written so eloquently in his comments to my blog post. Frankly, he writes so well and so much from his heart, that my first inclination when I receive a comment from him now is to post it as a separate item.
But, at the end of the posting, I felt compelled to add a personal prayer for his total healing. I agonized over that prayer briefly, hoping that I would not offend him, but in truth, was only second guessing the Inspiration that gave me that prayer in the first place.
He sent me a personal note this morning, not as a comment to the blog item. It so moved me that I wanted to share it, so I asked him for permission to so do. Because he gave me that permission moments ago, I can share what he wrote in hopes that it might inspire you as is inspired me.
We are all called to community, to be brothers and sisters. In this crazy world we live in, it is all too easy to lose sight of that. I invite you to pray for our Brother Joshua, for his complete healing, and then to watch as God works wonders in his life, on top of the wonders He has already worked in Joshua's life.I just read your latest posting at FREEDOM THROUGH TRUTH, which you closed with the following prayer for me: "May God, the great healer pour his healing mercy on you, Joshua, on your body, mind, spirit and soul, to his glory and honour. I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, Saviour of the World."
I cried when I read your words. You see, just yesterday, as I lay there immobile with tons of nuclear medical equipment whirling around me, I asked Jehovah to heal me. This was the first time I had asked for that. Naturally, this all happens "in the mind" so to speak, so it wasn't in these precise words that I learned what I learned.As I prayed my prayer over and over again - 25 minutes spent absolutely immobile is a long, long time! - my prayer was answered - IMMEDIATELY - in a very illuminating way.As I lay there, it suddenly popped into my mind (as God's voice often does!): "Do you mean heal the cancer, Joshua?"That stopped me dead (no pun intended, but God has blessed me with a rather macabre sense of humour about my own situation). When we ask to be healed, we presumably are asking for the threat/imminent danger/worst thing in one's life to be eradicated, right? Well, my prayer wasn't that specific, and you know God! His response caused me to wonder: Is cancer TRULY the worst thing in my life? Really? And I began to wonder...It came to me that the "worst thing in my life" would have to fulfill SOME kind of criteria above and beyond its ability to inspire fear in me. And not to brag, but I am not easily made to feel afraid. It came to me then that "the worst thing in my life" is the thing that CHALLENGES MY FAITH IN GOD THE MOST. And, that thing is NOT cancer.
This question is different for every human being. But it came to me in a flash (again, no pun intended but the machines were still whirling around me!) that in MY case, what challenges my faith in Jehovah the very most is violence perpetrated against children.What I read of in the media, what I saw (and still see) in schools, what I witness in the aisles of WalMart, what I hear parents say... well, I can't begin to express how alarmingly "anti-child" our world has grown. Violence takes many forms, and humankind seems to enact them all upon children. I can barely speak coherently on the subject, but suffice to say that I have been a "child advocate" since long before the term was even coined. I think it might have something to do with the vocational calling I felt to fatherhood as much as God's blessing of a wife who dove into motherhood headfirst and hasn't stopped swimming in the pool with the kids since!So when I asked God to heal me, and the response I received was: "Do you mean cancer, Joshua?" - well, I just had to answer, right? I mean - here's the deal - it's one thing to feel your faith enough to "talk to God", but it's another thing entirely to LISTEN AND RESPOND to God. To boot, it is one's responsibility to "listen and respond" to God. Logically, to not do so is to deny the existence of the "dialogue" one has worked so hard for to establish.All these things flashed through my mind/soul in a nanosecond. If I had to check off one of two boxes, which one would I select? The one that would end violence against children? Or the one that would take my cancer away?In the previous 48 hours, I had read about the sentencing for murder of one of three adults who abused a child to death right here in Canada. When she was found, the 17-month-old victim had sustained, among other injuries, a broken spine, multiple bone fractures, organ piercings, concussions, burnings, etc. It was so horrible that I shut down the computer and didn't read any more "news" that day. I spoke about it to my wife, and that was about all. I honestly cannot conceive of/ponder/imagine the level of evil in a person who can do such things. I cannot "debate" or "discuss" the issue among friends because I get so emotionally upset about what I know, and even more so by the denials about the issue that I hear being spoken by people around me (exempting my own family and close personal friends, who largely share my sentiments).Do you hear "where I am coming from"? This is the Achilles heel of my faith in Jehovah, and we talk about it a lot. So I knew what God was asking in that moment yesterday at Sunnybrook hospital. "Joshua," Jehovah responded, "would you be willing to sacrifice your life for children - the children of others?"I wish I could say that my answer was an immediate "yes", but it wasn't - not quite. Before I answered Jehovah in the affirmative, I inserted a clause which acknowledged that I have already enjoyed 57 years of life - God's greatest gift to me after my immortal soul - and THEN I said "yes". I guess I still have a ways to go, huh? LOLNonetheless, in the immediate apron of time after I had delivered my response to Jehovah that, yes, I would sacrifice my life to end violence against children, I connected yet again to some huge inner sense that I've not finished the work God has intended me to do in my life. My confidence that I would "pull through" this cancer thing and 'fly right" again grew exponentially. God's not done with me yet. I simply "know" that this will look like a cakewalk in hindsight once it's passed. My wife and I had - and still have - big plans for the many "grandkids" we've acquired over the years - most unrelated by blood to us but who know no other "Grandma and Grampa" than me and my wife. I'm still needed here. I have faith in God's faith in me to deliver on that score, so I have to have faith that God will support my doctors and medical technology in defeating this cancer. My oncologist tells me that I am responding 'very well" to therapy. I take that as a sign/message...
Thank you for listening/reading all this. All I really wanted to do was thank you for remembering me in your prayers, and here I am, more than one hour later tap-tap-tapping these words to you.You can honestly lay claim to one accomplishment today already - you got my day off to the best start possible! Knowing God's hearing my name from your quarter makes me stronger, makes my faith stronger, and makes me love this life God blessed me with more than ever before.And you are in my prayers, too, and have been since I first began reading you online many months ago. It's nice to know the company I've been assigned to has such courageous guys in it, 'cuz this battle is a long one.