Walking with God | Chasing My Own Tail
I'm probably the most stubborn Christian you will ever know. Signs and wonders could be happening all around me and I still choose to close my eyes and clasp my ears to the wonder of it all. It's not that I don't believe in the power and love of God, I really do. I grew up in a Christian family. I go to church every Sunday, read the Bible and pray every night. Ever since I've joined Catch The Fire Toronto I've been introduced to the Holy Spirit in a whole new way. But I'm still the most stubborn Christian ever.
In early 2011 I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, which completely turned my life around and I decided to get closer to God. Wait a minute, this sounds familiar. Let’s back up to the summer of 2008, and let me say this again. During my 2008 church retreat I was filled with the Holy Spirit, which completely turned my life around as I decided to move forward with God's plan.
I know I can't have any pretensions with the Alpha and Omega.
"I’ve completely turned my life around". I’ve heard this phrase from friends and family whose lives were transformed for God’s glory. However, the phrase becomes problematic when a person, like me, says it all the time. It seemed like I was going through a cycle of transition, never attaining true transformation. I began to ask myself, “Have I been spinning all this time, chasing my own tail? Am I so disoriented that my blurry vision triples the single path God has put before me? Can I truly say that my life completely turned around even with a life altering experience such as cancer?”
The moment I heard about my diagnosis, my masculine intuition kicked in which prevented any natural reaction in front of my doctor. A warning to the male readers: sometimes our masculinity can get in the way of God and his comfort. Nevertheless, there I was in the washroom stall of the medical building, trying to imitate the tears of an action hero who just lost their love interest, instead of completely breaking down. (Please exclude the atrocious cries of Sylvester Stallone; after all it was the men's room.) As soon as I got to my own bedroom, I continued to grieve but in a manner more pure and unrestrained because when I'm helpless and vulnerable, I know that I can't have any pretensions with the Alpha and Omega.
During months of anticipation and multiple tests on my diagnosis, my search for peace led me to new heights of intimacy with our Father. I prayed and read my Bible to keep this newfound relationship with God. The moment of my operation came and, as cliché as it sounds, your life does flash before your eyes. It's easier to look into the past where your life has been rather than a possible ending future. After months of prayer for healing, guidance and blessings, only one single phrase kept escaping through my lips.
"Jesus forgive me for all my sins and come into my heart. I give you my life."
Until that moment I’d never experienced such clarity in my prayer. The Holy Spirit allowed me to see what had kept my life spinning rather than moving forward. I say the redemption prayer all the time, after all it was the first prayer I learned. But overtime it became a redundant and meaningless habit, a routine after every sin. "Jesus forgive me for all my sins and come into my heart."
The morning of my operation, I realized that I had been missing a key sentence in my incomplete prayer and the Holy Spirit helped me put it back: "I give you my life."
The hospital was my 'memento mori'. Its walls cried "we will all die someday!" We need to realize our impending mortality especially in this modern world where technological advances have created an armor of pseudo-invincibility. Only through God can we be invincible.
Generations of research may have given me comfort during my surgery, but only God could have given me peace in my heart.
My soul didn't go up to heaven that night. In fact it stayed in a body filled with external tubing and a remarkable Grand Canyon-like scar on the left of my neck held together by a series of staples. I woke up thinking my surgery was done at Staples Depot rather than Trillium Hospital but despite that, I chose to praise God. With the inability to speak my soul would cry, "Thank God! Thank God!"
I was really grateful and I kept praising God. I could feel that I was still in his presence despite the obvious fragility of my body. Generations of research may have given me comfort during my surgery, but only God could have given me peace in my heart. My family came to visit as well as pastors from several churches, and my awesome girlfriend stayed with me until I was better. I was filled with joy and love and saw everything as a miracle. My surgery was successful.
But despite my sense of clarity, temptation came quickly in the form of a question, "God where was my supernatural miracle? I've been watching Benny Hinn since I was a kid, seeing the Holy Spirit manifest in your church. But hey, why did I have to go through that surgery when I knew you could have prevented it?"
Stubbornness. Why couldn't I just accept that God guided the doctor's hands, gave me the best possible room in that hospital, took out my cancer and had his people watching and praying over me?
"Lost again, you are." Often my nerdy habit translates the Holy Spirit's voice in a Yoda-ish tone.
I decided to regain my intimacy with God. I read my bible and prayed, "Jesus, thank you dying for me and my sins and staying in my heart. I give you my life."
I've decided to be stubborn for God instead.
As my prayer evolves, so does my life. I am still the most stubborn Christian, but it's different now. I've decided to be stubborn for God instead. As I continue to search for more intimacy with our Father and begin to open my eyes to the miracles around me, there's one thing I learned from my experiences and all the Bible characters I admire: We need to be stubborn. They fell as we do but they got up because they were stubborn for God. Peter rejected Jesus three times, but he redirected his stubbornness and pushed on for his calling as a fisher of men. Job suffered, but he was stubborn in trying to glorify God, which gave pathways to greater blessings. Paul was stoned to near death, but he got up and walked back to fulfil his calling.
I walk a bit straighter these days. I’m in continuous revival. From time to time I have to stop and make sure I’m not spinning or 'chasing my tail'. But when I do, I listen to the Spirit.
"The truth and the light, Jesus is" in his Yoda-ish tone.