Tonight I went to God in prayer and found that I was unable to speak. There seemed to be a struggle occurring between what my heart longed to say and what my faith was telling my heart.
For fifteen years I've preached about prayer, faith, and standing firm in the face of fear. I've heard countless stories of people who felt useless against the circumstances they faced. Possibly for the very first time, I understood those stories.
"The one thing you can do is pray," I would tell them. "Present your requests, your hurt, your pain before God". I'd never even contemplated that my prescription could add to their confusion. I now know.
Tonight I learned that one of my closest friends in life has been diagnosed with Stage 4 Colon cancer. He had emergency surgery to remove a tumor but it is feared that the cancer may have already spread to his liver.
Cancer. It's a word we all think we know until it gets close enough to make us realize we never truly knew it at all.
My friend has stood by my side through some of the most difficult circumstances I've had to face. He has been an overwhelming source of encouragement and confirmation of God's call on my life. We went to school together, served together, shared the joys of the growth of our families. And now I feel completely useless.
As I spoke with his wife tonight I even said the words I had repeated so many times, "We'll be praying". Yet when I went to speak to God, I found my words were gone. What do I say? I can selfishly ask for a complete healing; I can say "Your will be done" but I only mean that if His will is healing.
As I cried, God impressed a truth on me and revealed that I have still so much to surrender.
Here I am, wide awake at 2am after the longest day of my work week. The struggle continues between my heart and my faith. I thank God for the grace and mercy He has shown in my life and battle the guilt of pathetic complaints I've made in recent days.
So I sit in silence at the feet of my God; asking Him to grant my selfish request and begging Him for the strength to want His will most.
I want many more years of phone calls and jokes; of golf trips and family stories; reminiscing on the days of our overconfident youth and the unbearable people we dealt with along the way.
I want my friend to walk his daughter down the isle, to see his son graduate college, to hold his grandchild in his arms. I want my friend to live. And I want to want Jesus more than all of this for his life or my own.