What difficult experience seems hard to understand? How could it become a springboard to a deeper trust in God?
During the July 2018 Major League Baseball All Star Game in Washington D.C., a key event was repeated. After the final out of the fifth inning of the All-Star Game at Nationals Park, players emerged from both dugouts and stood shoulder to shoulder on the field. Fans in the stands were asked to rise. Instead of going to a commercial break, Fox’s cameras panned around the ballpark and showed players, fans, umpires, executives and media members holding customized placards that read “I Stand Up For” above the name of a loved one who is battling or has battled cancer. By now, it’s a familiar sight.
This year marks the 10-year anniversary of Major League Baseball’s partnership with Stand Up To Cancer, a charitable organization that funds cancer research and treatments. Since MLB’s $10 million founding grant in 2008, the league and its 30 teams have donated more than $43 million to SU2C.
Many of us have dealt with a loved one battling cancer. We learned about being a caregiver, making meals, and administering medicine to ease their pain. It is not an easy path for either of us, but it can lead to a renewed perspective about life.
My mom handled her battle with cancer with toughness and a smile. She helped me remember that as difficult as her situation was, she still saw life as a “great gift from God.” Her perspective altered the way I was feeling before she passed and helped me afterward with a new appreciation of the role of suffering in our lives.
Having officiated at funeral services, I have heard from people who realized that while remembering a loved one who just passed, they now had the opportunity to deal with a “before and after” moment. They had to choose whether to live in the past of their emotional ups and downs, or choose to accept the light of the present. Like Andy told Red in Shawshank Redemption, “I guess it comes down to a simple choice really. Get busy living or get busy dying. I guess it comes down to a simple choice really…”
Read 2 Corinthians 1:1-11.
The apostle Paul described the results of hardships he and his colleagues experienced in Asia by writing: “We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life…This happened so that we might not rely on ourselves but God…He delivered us from this deadly peril…on Him we have set our hope” (verses 8-10).
Today you may be under great stress or in a difficult season. You wonder how you got there or why your plans fell through. You ask yourself why your job is not working out, or how such promise turned into disappointment. These questions may not have answers.
But God (see verse 3) is with you as the “Father of compassion and God of all comfort.” Walk wisely. Don’t just try and figure your situation out. Rely on Him. Your “before and after” is in His arms. Do not give up. Knowing God is an anchor for your life.
Love is a verb,
©2018 by Mike Olejarz