A week ago we were at a friends house and Andrew shared this. I thought it was great so I asked him to post it. From Andrew:
I get asked fairly often how I am doing with everything. Whenever I am proposed that question, I typically have an internal battle, do I just say "fine" and hope that I don't have to go into it again? or do I tell the truth? How much do I share? Does the person asking me want to get into the guts of it, or is this a mere formality? I decided to share something twice now that gave me some clarity into understanding how I am processing this whole cancer thing. I reluctantly shared it because it opens the door to my inner nerd, and I have to keep up my manly persona. Both recipients to my babbling seemed to have a chord struck and asked me to share that on the blog. I am not sure how to put all the thoughts together without rambling and wasn't sure the actual point I wanted to convey so I am just typing and praying that God will use these word to bring clarity.
The answer to the overall question of "How are you doing?" is simple, I am really fine. It is the usual follow up question that is hard to answer. "How are you fine? Hmmmm. Saying that God has given me peace sounds lame and people are probably thinking, "He is just saying what he needs to say or thinking what he needs to think to not just fall apart in a blubbering mess". I could see this on some people's faces so I wanted to drive the point home one night and decided to jump into a reference point that is obviously the most likely source...Eragon. You know, the books about the dragons and their riders, duh!
In Eragon there are different races of people, some human, some elf, some dragon, some werecats, etc. They speak their own tribal languages to communicate every day, but a select few can speak the ancient language. The ancient language is powerful and can allow a person to perform magic like moving rocks, healing wounds, adding protective wards (of course)(I am squirming writing this because of the excessive dorkiness that is spilling out right now)etc. As the series progresses you learn about an even deeper language wherein you learn the True Names of people or things. Once someone has learned the true name of an item that person has absolute control over that person/object. The quest continues with Eragon trying to learn his true name and the true name of his enemy. Sooo you have English as his common language, magic as a special language, and a deeper vein of power found in the true names of things.
What makes sense to me in understanding this whole "peace" thing, and really God's historical/present workings in this world, is to realize that God speaks, moves, and operates in a deeper language that is hard for me to understand. It is deeper than my understanding, most times. During times like now God lets me experience/taste/drink/ this deeper pool of language. I like what I taste and find my soul wanting more.
There is a verse that says that when we pray to the Father the Holy Spirit intercedes for us in words that we cannot express. I have never thought too much about this verse other than to picture the Holy Spirit coloring my greyscale prayers with better adjectives or telling the Father what I REALLY meant to say to avoid me some kind embarrassment. Maybe what he is doing is translating my thoughts in the common language to the deeper "soul level" language of the Father.
Maybe this deeper language is why his timing is hard to understand, or why his ways are so opposite to this world, or why the yoke he offers can feel like the greatest relief in the world.
A friend of mine was struggling to believe in Christ and the reality of the things I believe. He asked me, "What is so convincing enough that you would move your family to Sierra Leone just to share Christ with people?"Why do you believe?" I could have gone in a direction talking about archaeological evidence and the inerrancy of scripture, but I decided to just be open with what had a greater impact on me personally. The "secondary" stuff helps for sure, but what gives me the greatest assurance of God's presence is this deeper language that nothing but my inmost being seems to understand. Maybe that is because I am created by one who speaks this deeper language and he gave me a soul that speaks it. I told him that the reason I believe is because I have seen the darkness. Due to these repeated glimpses into the most horrific, evil darkness that causes people to do things to other people that should NEVER happen, I was truly able to see the Light. I was able to see people loving the unlovable, forgiving the unforgivable, carrying a peace beyond their circumstances. My friend's response was..."elaborate". OK, I have seen people choose to do things that don't make sense if they were acting upon their own power. Humans are by nature selfish and self-preserving. The things I have seen are things that people don't just choose to do of their own accord. There must be something deeper driving this.
I have been "out given" by an orphan who has nothing, I have seen a man crawl out of the depths of poverty who possesses an unquenchable drive to bless others with ANYTHING extra he is given, I have seen people forgive their abuser, I have seen people choose to go against the flow of society and love the cast-off, I have seen people give up their food to pray for my daughter's healing, I have seen my wife shine in the darkness. This is absolute non-sense without a deeper force at work. People don't just "choose" to do this, just like I didn't just "choose" to have peace with my wife's diagnosis. Satan continues to try to use darkness, disease, and evil to steal, kill, and destroy, and God continues to work within this to give people a taste of a better way, a better path, a deeper soul-level language.
Witnessing these things, along with this terrible journey into the realm of cancer, are times when God has opened the door, just a crack, and allowed me to experience the plane of language in which He operates on a daily basis. Where peace can be truly peace that passes understanding, where my greatest prayer for this time is for people to experience communion with the Father as they intercede for my wife, where someone with terminal cancer can spend her days glorifying the Father instead of saying woe is me. It is non-sense, but it makes so much sense to me deep down. The soul language, the deep language, is what makes blind men see, it is what gives Heather an intoxicating presence that makes thousands read her blog, it helps you love the unlovable, it gives you communion with the Father. Just like Eragon, I want to know more of it.
Do I get scared...absolutely, do I ever cry... occasionally. But, "How am I doing, really? Fine...I have a lot of peace."
"Come to me, all who are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."