Birthday Trip

October 12, 2023

“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given to me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace” (Acts 20:24, NIV).


He has lived with prostate cancer since 2004, now on chemotherapy after 19 years. He had been struggling on his last visit with pain and discouragement. Today he is bright, energetic and feeling better.


“You know what happened two weeks ago? My sister came up from Texas and took me to visit relatives in Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama. Then they all surprised me with a birthday party. Every one of my children and grandchildren from all over the country showed up. I would have cried if a man was allowed to cry.” He continued, “I was able to speak to them. I told them that the most important experience in my life was when I chose to follow Jesus.”


“Do your children follow Christ?”




“I bet your message will change their hearts.”


“I hope so. I think the reason the Lord has kept me here so long is to share His message.”


This man’s story impacted me in so many ways.


His family reunion not only made me understand a bit of heaven, but it also gave me hope that my life may have touched and changed the lives of those I love. Our present separations in time and space will one day be resolved, and on that day I will hear magnificent stories of love and redemption that have an eternity to be told. That will be wonderful.


He also challenged me with his clear understanding of purpose in life. Why am I here?


My patient was clear.


What will it take to be clear for me?


Why can’t I know, not only in my head but deep in my bones, that my life is His message?


Others got it right, like Maria Skobtsova who said, “I am your message, Lord. Throw me like a blazing torch into the night so that all may see and understand what it means to be a disciple.”


What will it take for me to get it right??


Mother Teresa said, “I am a little pencil in God’s hands. He does the thinking. He does the writing. He does everything and sometimes it is really hard because it is a broken pencil, and He has to sharpen it a little more.”

Perhaps I need a bit more sharpening and a bit more trust in the Writer to tell His story His way with His broken pencil.

Dear God,
Shave away the parts of me that keep me from writing your message to the world, even if it hurts.

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