The following is an excerpt from an email my pastor sent this week as a follow up to his sermon (and his cancer surgery):
The real Jesus in our lives will upset our status quo – but always for the better. As many of you know, I had surgery to remove cancer from my lower lip on Monday. Most of my lip was taken away and reconstructed. As I write this, I am in pain. I have a long line of stitches across my new lip – all the way from left to right, and for the short term I am limited to soft food from a straw or a very small spoon. The surgeons clearly upset my status quo. And they didn’t have to. I could have said no. If I had said no, they would have left things the way they were, and I would be without pain today. But the status quo would have destroyed me. Instead, I am in pain and eating only soft foods…but I have been healed. It does not feel like healing right now, but I know that it is. I trust my surgeons and they have assured me of my healing.
That is the way it is with Jesus. He desires to upset the status quo in the places that will ultimately kill us, so that we might be healed. These are often the very places we do not want him to go. What if it hurts? What if it seems worse? What if…? We can say no and he will respect our wishes. If we say no, however, he will leave us as we are, but those areas that need healing will remain unhealed, the cancers will grow, and we will be destroyed. (emphasis mine)
As I read these words, I not only felt for my friend, but I could hear Jesus asking me a couple questions:
- What needs to be truly healed in you? Have I even taken the time to look at what is “broken?” All too frequently, the status quo becomes so comfortable that I can’t even see what needs healing. I become comfortable with my pain, sin, attitudes, or [insert brokenness here]. If Jesus is going to truly, completely heal me, I have to become aware of the healing needed.
- Am I willing to walk through the pain to be truly healed? That’s the clincher. I say that I want to be healed. I just don’t want to go through the pain it will take to be healed. After all, pain…uh…hurts. So I avoid it. I know I need it. I trust the Healer. I just don’t like His process. I want every healing to be an instant, miraculous healing. And sure, He can do it. He just doesn’t very often.
- What will it cost if I don’t allow the healing? Answering this question will always make me more likely to answer “Yes” to Question #2. If I look at the consequences of the status quo over the long haul, I will see that removing the “cancer” is a necessary pathway to a healthy future. Painful? Yes. Worth it? Always.
We remain in the status quo because we fail to realize that the status quo is killing us. This is where Jesus reminds us once again that “a thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” (John 10:10 The Message)