interview

here is an interview with a man that will likely not be alive at the end of this year. fascinating difference in perspective even though any of the rest of could die this year too.

There is a tendency that’s especially strong in Calvinist circles to read Romans 8:28, “All things work together for the good,” as though it says that “All things aregood.”  I heard some of that, and that hurt me too.  I am not blaming anyone else; I am sure this is more my fault than anyone else’s.  These are honest opinions, if (I think) probably misguided, and they were delivered by completely well-meaning people.  But hearing repeatedly that suffering is discipline from a loving Father, and that my circumstances are all gift — no curses, they are all blessings — made me feel sometimes as though God were coming after me with a baseball bat.

It’s impossible for me to hear and absorb those messages and then also think that the God of the universe actually loves me.  I got close at some points to losing my faith, to seeing God as having declared Himself my enemy.  It’s hard to worship your enemy.

The pain and the cancer in themselves are not good, then, and yet we as Christians believe that God can bring good out of evil.  Not to paper over the negatives, but what good has God brought out of it?  What lessons has God taught you, or how has He shaped you?

My experience of cancer especially is that God is just so eager to bless.  I find blessing all over the place, not in the cancer itself but all around it.  It would almost be easier to answer what blessings I have not found.

…..

Many people wonder what it will be like when they learn that their death is drawing near.  Is there anything that surprises you?

Yes, absolutely, but I think that this is just another one of many, many pieces of divine mercy.  One thing that has certainly surprised me is just how easy it has been to absorb that message that I’m going to die soon.

I will probably not survive 2010.  Yet that message is much easier to take than I would have expected.  I don’t fully understand why.  I would have thought that the knowledge that I am very likely in my last year of life would lead me to dwell on the dying.  A certain amount of that is unavoidable.  Death hangs in the air.  It’s as though I am living with an hourglass right in front of my face.  You cannot look away from it.  You cannot close your eyes to it.  It’s always there.  But actually I think it has led me to dwell more on the living.  It sounds really trite to say that things that seemed like very small matters seem really precious to me now.  It’s no novel thought — but, in my case, it really is true.

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Matt Chandler update

here is a video from Matt Chandler giving an update regarding his treatment and status.

HT to numerous people on twitter.

life

“yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”

or as Kansas says:

Now, don’t hang on
nothing last forever
but the earth and sky
it slips away

And all your money
won’t another minute buy

Dust in the wind
all we are is dust in the wind

Matt Chandler got the word on Tuesday that his brain tumor was malignant.

Here is what he tweeted before knowing the results:

Path report is 2ndary at best…good report doesn’t mean much, bad report doesn’t mean anything…my days r numbered and nt by ths report
12:10 PM Dec 15th from TweetDeck

and here is what he tweeted afterward:

why not me? Why not you?
about 13 hours ago from TweetDeck

and here is what JR Vasser wrote on the difference between desire and hope yesterday after hearing the news. Go read the whole thing.

I am praying with great desire. My desire is that God would heal Matt, hand him to Lauren and the kids to be her husband and their daddy, restore him to the pulpit, empower him to preach his heart out for the magnification of Jesus, and one day let him play with his grandkids. I think God wants me to desire those things and ask Him for them, knocking until my knuckles bleed, making it clear to God how I desire Him to respond. And, those desires are good. But those desires are different than our hope.

If our lives are but a mist that vanishes after a “little while” then we should probably be wise in how we spend our “little while.”

John Piper gave a series of messages in 2008 about not wasting our lives. Use some of your allotted time to listen to them. It will be well worth it. I especially liked his “don’t waste your robbery” illustration but all of it is very good.

Good news

some of you may recall that coffee was recently discovered to enhance brain health. Now the even better news that coffee won’t hurt you and is helpful to health in several ways.

My lovely wife sent me a link to this article packed with good news for coffee drinkers and perhaps sufficient justification for non coffee drinkers to take up the habit.

Diabetes: Twenty studies worldwide show that coffee, both regular and decaf, lowers the risk for Type 2 diabetes, in some studies by as much as 50%. Researchers say that is probably because chlorogenic acid, one of the many ingredients in coffee, slows uptake of glucose (sugar) from the intestines. (Excess sugar in the blood is a hallmark of diabetes.) Chlorogenic acid may also stimulate GLP-1, a chemical that boosts insulin, the hormone that escorts sugar from the blood into cells. Yet another ingredient, trigonelline, a precursor to vitamin B3, may help slow glucose absorption.

Heart disease and stroke: Recent studies suggest that frequent coffee consumption does not increase the risk of either condition. In fact, coffee might — repeat, might — slightly reduce the risk of stroke. A study published in March in the journal Circulation looked at data on more than 83,000 women older than 24. It showed that those who drank two to three cups of coffee a day had a 19% lower risk of stroke than those who drank almost none. A Finnish study found similar results for men.

For cardiovascular diseases other than stroke, there doesn’t appear to be a preventive benefit from drinking coffee, but there is also no clearly documented harm; the studies looked at the effect of drinking up to six cups of regular coffee a day.

Cancer: Coffee research has come up empty here — with one big exception: liver cancer. Research consistently shows a drop in liver cancer risk with coffee consumption, and there is some, albeit weaker, evidence that it may lower colon cancer risk as well.

go read the article for more on the benefits of coffee with regard to cirrhosis, parkinson’s disease and athletic performance. It also talks about the benefits of filtered versus unfiltered coffee.

excuse me while I go get a refill.

Julie as the hair returns

ain’t she pretty?

Julie as the hair returns

I am a lucky man indeed.