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The Terrible Opportunity

dusty-londonWith permission, I am re-posting a blog post written by a friend.

It is worth reading in its entirety.

A Little Backstory

Here’s the story of Jeff and Dusty, two of my friends here in Jax.

2006

  • Dusty has suffered from endometriosis for several years. Endometriosis is a dreadful reproductive disorder that causes debilitating pain and can lead to infertility.
  • Through a season of faith, prayer and fasting, Dusty believes God for healing from endometriosis.
  • Twelve days later there is no trace of endometriosis. Booooo yah! It’s not often you personally know someone with a bonafide Jesus miracle.

2010

  • Jeff and Dusty have a baby! July 16th, 2010. Baby London.
  • Doctors find out during routine bloodwork Dusty has Leukemia.
  • Dusty is not allowed to leave the hospital or be with her newborn child.
  • After six weeks and two rounds of chemo Dusty is in remission.
  • Currently need Dusty’s white blood cell counts to increase so she can have a bone marrow transplant from her sister.

The Terrible Opportunity…

Friends,

Recently I was struck by a thought that has left me a bit overwhelmed…

What if God had approached Dusty and I in the middle of July to offer us the opportunity of a lifetime—the ability to share our faith with every single person we know, the occasion to tell hundreds of others that we’ve never even met about our relationship with God, and the chance to actually do something with our lives that would carry over into eternity?

“Of course,” we would have said, “we’ll take it…”

But what if He had then shared with us the price to be paid: A life threatening illness. The painful separation of mother and child. The interruption of a comfortable life.

In our weakness, we would have never been able to make that choice. With tears in our eyes, we would have explained to God, “We’re so sorry, but we cannot make that choice, we are too weak, and it is just too much for us to bear.” And with that, we would have missed our opportunity to be used by God to do something of eternal significance.

As I have said a lot lately, we all like to pray, “God, please use me,” but none of us want to be Job.

For the past few years I have often prayed that God would use our family to make an impact. I have asked Him to make our lives count for something. I have begged that we would be different from the crowd.

And to be honest, my biggest fear was that we’d look back in thirty or forty years from now and say, “Well, we had a very comfortable life. We had a great house and we always drove nice cars. We even got to visit some nice places along the way. But we never did anything of consequence. I mean, yeah, we gave some money to the church, and we did our best to help out others when we had some margin in our schedule or our checkbook, but what did we ever do that really mattered? When did we ever do something for God that actually hurt?

“When were we ever bold in our faith?”

You see, I often find myself choked out by the fog of our culture. I want to do the right things, but I mean, have you seen the new Restoration Hardware catalog? There’s some really nice stuff in there. Have you seen the new BMW 7 Series? OMG. Have you ever eaten at the Capital Grille? Yum! And none of that stuff’s cheap. And I want all of it. Wait, I forgot about my 401k. Dang. I have to fund that too. And all this requires me to work…hard…a lot.

So this means we’re busy people. We want to take the time to share our faith, but we barely have time to hang out with our closest friends. And we’re private people, so it’s going to be tough to be really honest about what God has done in our lives. And we both work so much that we barely have time to spend with each other. It’s going to be enough of a challenge to figure out how to fit time in for London, so we certainly don’t have time for leukemia…

As for me, I tend to be quiet—some might say boring. Most of my conversations are actually with myself. If we’ve crossed paths, I probably really wanted to talk to you about Jesus…but I just didn’t have the courage. I mean, who would want to listen to a speech about Jesus from some boring guy who gets excited about Restoration Hardware catalogs?

Hey, at least I’m honest…

I hope you can appreciate that I’m being somewhat facetious, but is it really that far from the truth of daily life? No, at least not for me. Even if my life doesn’t look exactly like that, I certainly have those thoughts and tendencies. What did Paul say?

Romans 7:19 (NLT)
19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.

To even consider giving up the comforts of our life—to entertain the interruption of our long-term plan—to face the fact that none of us are guaranteed a long life—to endure the separation of Dusty and London—it would be…

Terrible.

Even though we realize that material comforts are artificial. Even though we know that our 401k won’t matter one bit after we’re gone. Even though we know that this life is “just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away” (James 4:14). Even though we begged God that our lives would count for something…we would be too weak to accept the Terrible Opportunity.

But our God—He is a good God. And He knows our hearts. And He knows our desire to share our relationship with Him. And He knew that we were too weak to ever choose such a Terrible Opportunity. But because He is good, He never gave us the choice. Instead, He allowed us to be pushed into the deep end of eternal significance. And once that happened, He poured out His grace on our family, and it has been more than sufficient.

You see, God wants only the very best for each and every one of us. Of course we all think that we know what is best for ourselves, but He knows that the highest good for any individual’s life is to know and experience Him. Unfortunately we often settle for far less. We settle for counterfeits and imitations.

Are Dusty and I saying that we are thankful for the terrible things that have happened this summer? Hardly. Are we thankful for leukemia? No. Are we thankful for the separation from London? Of course not. But if this is the pathway to be able to share our relationship with God with every single person we know—if this is our chance to show the world that there is something far greater than the artificial life that has intoxicated our culture—if this is our opportunity to boldly announce that even death cannot separate us from the love of our God—then we are thankful to endure whatever momentary hardships are required.

And so we have come to be thankful for this Terrible Opportunity. Soon enough, the ‘Terrible’ will be behind us, but it is the ‘Opportunity’ that will reach far beyond this temporary life. It will last forever.

We are thankful for how good our God is. We are thankful that when we are weak, He is strong. We are thankful that He allowed us to be pushed into the deep end of eternal significance. And we pray that He continues pushing us in—for the rest of our lives…

Luke 21:12-13 (NLT)
12 “…there will be a time of great persecution…13 But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me.

Jeff, Dusty, & London

What Can You Do?

If you’ve gotten this far, I hope it’s because this story has touched your heart.

Now I hope you’ll go just a bit further and pray for Dusty, Jeff and London.

As I mentioned earlier Dusty is waiting on her white blood cell counts to reach a healthy level so she can have a bone marrow transplant. Pray for her white blood cells and for the transplant/recovery.

Thanks for reading. Don’t forget to pray. ;)

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vicki REMPELAlex TranSean WrenchCharlesTrevor Recent comment authors
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vicki REMPEL

My heart is deeply touched. Thank you for sharing about the “Terrible Opportunity” – God’s greatness and love makes this perspective possible… It is a privilege to pray for Dusty and little London, and Jeff. love, vicki in PA

Sean Wrench
Sean Wrench

Alex, wow man. Thank you for sharing that. I needed that today.
It’s so hard to endure pain when we know it’s in God’s plan. My prayers will absolutely be with this family!

Thank you brother!

Trevor
Trevor

What’s the link to their blog? I have been meaning to follow it but wasn’t sure where its located…

Also, do you know if they would mind if I linked to your post?

Charles
Charles

You better believe I am praying. I remember in 2006 when Pastor Stovall made the announcement about her clean health. God is bigger than ALL of our problems.