I preached last Sunday for the first time in about a month. The anticipation and preparation for the sermon was nerve racking. Though I prepared most of the message last week, I still had some content to complete at the end of the week, along with the Powerpoint presentation. I had been excited about the message series we have done to start the new year – "Small Things, Big Difference". I am a strong believer in this approach to growth and achievement. But this was the first sermon I got to preach in the series, and, with all that has happened, it took a lot of mental gymnastics to get through it. We’ve had lots of visitors in our home, and our schedule is completely out of routine with Gail’s treatments and how she feels at any given time. Saturday was a long day.
Would I totally break down when I stepped onto the platform? What should I say about the situation? I don’t want people to get tired of hearing about Gail’s cancer battle, but we are constantly asked about it and we are glad to keep everyone as informed as possible. I was weepy as we sang worship songs, but when Gail came to the front row and took her normal seat with me, I knew all would be well and I would do what God has called me to do for the last thirty-four years. The church family welcomed me with applause, and I updated them about Gail. I then got to share about our "Love Does" campaign and major developments that are taking place on both campuses. This always charges me up. I love to see progress.
So, the small thing that makes a big difference I discussed was “Words.” Words are the most powerful force on earth. Gail and I are experiencing this fact in both good and bad ways. For instance, the word “cancer” carries great power, doesn’t it? “Death” is a scary word for even the strongest of Christ followers. “Pain” and “suffering” are words we all try to avoid. “Separation,” “anger,” “frustration;” these words represent strong influences upon our lives. They describe the fallen human condition. We long for a time when they will no longer be part of our vocabulary.
But there are far more powerful words than these! “Love,” “God’s love,” is more powerful than all of those words combined. Gail and I share deep love and no amount of cancer, pain, frustration, or even death, can overcome our love. Our love is rooted in our relationship with God, who is perfect love. There is the word “prayer.” Prayer has conquered nations and kings, healed the sick, restored relationships, moved mountains, and, most importantly, made sinners more like the perfect God to whom they communicate when they pray. In fact, the greatest changes that happen through prayer, are the changes that take place in the “pray – er.” It’s not so much about what we receive from prayer, but the closeness we develop with God. Getting close to God is the most powerful thing you can ever do. This happens through prayer.
In ways like never before, Gail and I actually sense the prayers of thousands of people. I’ve heard people talk about this phenomenon, but I’ve never experienced it, at least to this extent. We would not make it without prayers and love. I hope you’ll keep praying for Gail and our family. We still ask God for healing.
Thank you for loving us.