Friday, November 10, 2006

The Gauntlet of the Lillies

My mother-in-law is bravely battling lung cancer and Republicans in far-away Richmond Virginia. A good friend of mine, a highly placed CEO with a strong track record was suddenly removed from his post for reasons unkown and is now wondering where he will go to work. Another friend's almost adult child is going through enormous inner turmoil and wants her family to stay out of it. Another friend battles mental and physical illness and has just recently been living out of her car before being admitted to a group home. This week God opened my eyes to a number of friends going through tough, tough times.
And the text before me is Matthew 6:25 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry...." What? Two types of cancer in both lungs and don't worry? A wandering child alone...don't worry? How dare I get into the pulpit and throw out the phrase "don't worry" to folks who are not fretting about trivial things (that's an easy one to hammer) but about really big gnarly things. Will the cancer come back? Do I have a life ahead of me or should I get the funeral ready? Will my child ever come home again? Have I failed as a professional and husband? Whew! These are big and legitimate worries.
One friend in this pile met me this week and said, I'm coming to church hungry and I know your text. Don't give me throw-away lines, I'm drowning here!
So, look to the lillies, the birds and the gift of life itself. Where does prudent care, even legitimate agony end and needless worry begin? I think I'm heading to Jesus command to "seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness" as the only way to live with worry and hope, fear and courage, anxiety and trust, held together by that audacious word of Jesus.


At 10:24 PM , Anonymous Gary Means said...

A prayer for you, my friend:

Dear Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, First of all, I thank You for the sensitivity You have developed in Donn. Thank You that he does not approach these issues with a cavalier or dogmatic approach.

I ask that You would give Him clarity that He might clearly hear Your voice as he struggles with this passage, should You choose to give Him something to hear. I know that sometimes You remain silent for reasons that are inexplicable to me. But Lord, Donn has such an enormous burden here. These are people he cares about, and he doesn't want to give them straw. Oh Loving Creator God, I ask for Your mercy on behalf of these suffering people. Please speak to them through Donn's words, even if he feels like his message is totally unsuited for the task. Please help him find a way to bring hope in You to these people. Oh Lord, and that passage . . . how to handle it, even in the best of circumstances . . . Help Donn, please. Touch those he cares about. And speak to his own heart as you do so.

I also ask for Your healing mercy in the case of Donn's mother-in-law. I have such a terribly difficult time praying for healing because my faith is so fleeting. But I know that You love this woman and her family. So all I can do right now is to bring her before You, and beg for Your love, mercy, and grace as regards her cancer. Whatever You chose to do, Lord, may Your love and presence be very real to each of them as they face these trials. AMEN

May God be close at hand as you prepare your message.


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