When I was 22-years-old a handsome young doctor with piercing blue eyes put his hand gently on my knee and uttered words which would change my life forever: “Surely you knew this was more than a cyst.” His frank statement was my first clue that the softball-sized tumor which had been visibly growing for months was a rare and lethal form of cancer. My story is one of destruction, because much that I believed about myself was destroyed in that moment. My sense of security, many of my relationships, and my hopes of achievement and significance crumbled into uncertainty.
I want to tell you these things by way of introduction so that you will know I have a deep understanding of darkness and struggle in the human heart. I am no stranger to anxiety, depression, physical trauma, marital problems, infertility or spiritual wandering. After a grim regimen of cancer treatments, including an amputation, I spent almost ten years in an angry wilderness of depression, avoiding the God I professed to know, lost in my own disappointment. God used the loving intervention of a faithful friend to help me crawl out of that cave into the life and light I know today, and now I’d like to be that faithful friend to others. Eventually, that became my motivation to study counseling from a Biblical perspective at seminary. My healing wasn’t quick or easy – in truth, it still continues. And yet, the whole journey has been a kind of gift that has given me far more than it took away.
So as we walk a little distance together, I want you to know that I won’t hand you someone else’s truth or some artificial answer that I just made up. I’d love to hear from you, to hear about your life, your troubles and your lessons learned. And if I have something to give you, it will be a gift that God first worked deeply into my spirit through pain. You see, my story is one of destruction, but it wasn’t me who was destroyed. I’m still here, I’m still married with two grown children, I’m still in relationship with God and His people, and I’m more alive than I was when I was 22. I had a little god I kept in my pocket which was supposed to give me everything I wanted. It was that inadequate idol which was destroyed, setting the stage for the God of the Bible to build an eternal foundation for me based upon a solid Rock. If I were to summarize my story, I would say that I traded my left leg and a dead idol for an unshakeable, eternal identity in Christ – and it was a good trade.
- What is it that gives you security and significance in this life? What would you struggle to give up?
- If destruction is the theme of my story, what is the theme of your story?