Zeal addiction


I’ve discovered that I’m a zeal junkie.

So this is how this blog came into being. My life has pretty much been on 3 month cycles. I’d get a CT Scan, PET Scan, MRI, bloodwork, etc, see a doctor, and then decide next steps. Since 2014 when we discovered the recurrence, the next step has continued to be systemic chemotherapy. But every 3 months I would see a surgeon, too, and we’ve kept surgical options open. Yes, we even attempted one back in April. The point is, doctor’s visits, scans, and other tests agitate me. But this also energizes me. Makes me really see my need for Jesus. And then I start talking to my wife. Sometimes with agony and accompanied by tears, she would sit there, hold my hand (or my head) and listen to me narrate a journey to the deepest parts of the universe in my mind. The imagination of the realm of God, his people, his work, and what I’m supposed to be doing in it.

Heavy stuff. At least I’m thinking it is. And she tells me to write. My lifelong dream has been to write, to be honest. I just never had a vision for what it looked like professionally. Battling cancer gives you plenty to write about. But so does following Jesus earnestly.

So here I am. Post-surgery. Healing. Awaiting a new round of chemo. And, not that there aren’t many needs of family and friends, it just seems that some of the most urgent issues are in a positive motion. Like we’ve been with God as He pushed a huge boulder up a hill and now we just get to watch it roll down the other side. I picture Forrest Gump when he abruptly stopped running. He merely said, “I think I’ll go home now” and that was it. That accurately describes my feeling in the clinic when the doctor told us surgery was not a good option now. Urgency waned. And slowly, the accompanying inspiration and zeal has returned to a more every-day mode.

But I miss that feeling of zeal!

Carrying on, I started to write something last week but didn’t like it. I dumped it.

Then night-before-last, I woke up in the middle of the night and pronounced, “Some people seek security. Some people seek freedom. But regardless, we are all created!”

Yes! The zeal I seek! And I was fortunate to remember the revelation in the morning. So I prayed, meditated, and wrote. But what I found I was doing was trying to come up with some wisdom to make sense of my midnight ramblings (cudos Mick Jagger). I honestly have no idea what I was dreaming about when I awoke and screamed those words. In some vague way, I understand them and see their significance, but until they fit into a larger narrative, I’ll leave it as a humorous story. Contrary to what my friend John suggested (jokingly), the prophet had not spoken. So those words remain an unpublished draft.

I wonder, what must it have been like for Moses? To be set apart from birth and a special instrument of God’s will for your entire life. The book of Exodus describes the many extraordinary ways in which God revealed himself to Moses in order to help Moses lead his people. We have the story of the burning bush. The cloud around Mt Sinai and the revelation of the ten commandments. Moses’ staff becoming a snake at the Lord’s command before Pharaoh. Moses parting the Red Sea. And more. I can only imagine the feeling of God’s Presence burning inside you at moments like these. I *think* I relate to this in a very small way in times of suffering. God, of course, meets our needs. But I only imagine that His Presence ebbs and flows with my passions.

Nonetheless, as I rest in this time of healing, perhaps of recharging, emotionally I miss the Presence of God and the zeal of purpose. And yet, I have the most unusual sense of peace. Honestly. Don’t misunderstand me. My body still reminds me that I have a disease. And my mind can still wander away from the comforting view of the cross. But where I think I should feel depressed about the state of my disease, I sense peace. Where I think I should act in desperation because life is fleeting, I sense patience. Where I think I should feel guilty about a lack of usefulness, I sense contentment. These are strange feelings and are markedly different from those of previous phases of this battle. It’s as if I’m having a mid-life crisis while quietly passing away at the end of a long life. There’s urgency. And peace.

But isn’t this what it means to follow Christ? Isn’t this what we hope and pray for? The crucifixion of Christ was not just an historical event 2 millennia past. His death and resurrection had saving power for people then and has it now and will until His promised return. There’s urgency for people to come to faith. For his kingdom to come. But there’s the peace that God is in control and that the outcome of His work is settled. That his kingdom will come.

My perception that I’m in a vacuum of God’s presence is merely imagined. God was with me in the hospital at MD Anderson when I rocked about in the boat in heavy seas. And He’s with me now as I may drift a bit. So rather than get anxious about a dead calm, I should cast my eyes to the horizon and enjoy the movement of the sun slowly arching in its glorious, predictable path. Feel assured. Be thankful. Wait.

And as I finish this post, a new wave of uncertainty has hit my Inbox. New trials for the Body of Christ to endure. If called upon, our hope is that God has prepared us to love in a special way.

God bless.



4 Comments Add yours

  1. rjswingle says:

    So glad you posted to the blog. Good to hear your “voice” in the entries. Looking forward to catching up soon. Love you.


  2. Laurie (Stokes) Alberty says:

    Isaiah 55 :8

    “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways”‘ declares the Lord.

    If you haven’t already checked out our ATH miracle, Katherine Wolf at Hope Heals, I highly recommend it.

    God works in mysterious (but always majestic) ways.

    Keep writing…maybe go a little more public with it?

    Prayers always…


  3. Marcia Mckelvey says:

    I am in tears – God bless you and please keep writing .


  4. Nancy Perrine (Koch's Mom) says:

    I relate to the zeal reference. For me it meant I could be proactive and ‘take some control’–Ha! Waiting in the wait is hard, but you are doing it gracefully, intellectually productively, and spiritually a champ! Remember–“He manifests in ways one would never imagine”! I continue to be filled by your writings and posts–keep it up, whether your mood is up, down, or just plain reflective. .


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