Hi this is pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…worst case scenarios
Sometimes I think it is difficult for any of us to avoid thinking about the worst case scenario. Don’t get me wrong I am no pessimist but I do think there are times we all struggle with this. I am definitely a glass-half-full kind of guy. I like to look at things from a positive perspective whenever I can. As much as I dislike clichés…if the world hands you lemons…I say make some lemonade. Even with that optimistic outlook, sometimes the prognosis isn’t very encouraging. Sometimes experience tells you that certain things don’t turn out so good.
I remember one such event in my life just a few years ago. I have shared in previous podcasts about the day my wife Lynn and I got the news that I had cancer. I have confided in you that in that moment, though I was concerned about all of the things I didn’t know and didn’t want to know about cancer, in faith I turned toward my wife and declared cancer wasn’t going to steal our joy. I am happy to announce that a little over two years later it has not done so and will not do so. It has stolen some other things though…my prostate for one. See I can’t even tell the story now without injecting some level of humor.
Humor has always been a trusted defense mechanism for me. It may not be, and often isn’t the right time for a wisecrack or a joke but I will utilize them just the same to add some levity to an otherwise not-so-funny circumstance. Cancer was no different and so I would regularly tell my own cancer jokes to lighten the mood whenever Lynn or one of my adult children looked overly concerned about something that disese was forcing us to endure. I even ordered a special T-shirt to wear to the cancer center for my final day of radiation treatments. There was a fork on the front with the inscription “Stick a fork in me, I’m done!” I often told the techs in the radiation department that I wished I would have lost more weight before beginning treatment so I didn’t have to lay there and smell bacon while I got my treatments.
On one particular day Lynn was having a difficult day dealing with the presence of cancer. She has always despised the fact that it reared its ugly head in our family. I did what I always do trying to lighten the mood in the room. I cracked a couple of exceptionally witty jokes about cancer when Lynn looked at me with tears in her eyes and said sternly; “quit making jokes…you could die you know!” My response, was not a joke…it was said in complete sobriety, but with incredible peace I said; “I could, couldn’t I?”
I was surprised by my own reaction, I think Lynn just thought I was being insensitive and cracking another joke and did her best to ignore me. But I was serious, I was able to have that mindset because of the security I had knowing how wonderful my relationship with Christ is. Not because I am perfect, I am far from it, but because the relationship we share takes all of the sting out of worst case scenarios. I finally understood how the apostle Paul must have felt when He wrote the following words; Philippians 1:19-25 in the New Living Translation says; For I know that as you pray for me and the Spirit of Jesus Christ helps me, this will lead to my deliverance. For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ. So I really don’t know which is better. I’m torn between two desires: I long to go and be with Christ, which would be far better for me. But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live. Knowing this, I am convinced that I will remain alive so I can continue to help all of you grow and experience the joy of your faith.
I knew I wasn’t going to die…this time. As an awesome friend of mine who is watching his dear wife struggle through her own battle with cancer says often, “…None of us gets out of this thing we call life alive.” That is his attempt at humor to soften the blow of where they are in their battle…I get it. But someday I will die (very temporarily) and go to be with Jesus. What a glorious day that will be! Someday my family won’t need me to survive…they will all understand what I am talking about now. Then I will be able to go be with Jesus and all the prayers in the world won’t be able to stop it from happening!
See, no matter what you may be facing in this life…it really doesn’t make a difference what it is. If it is a health issue, a financial issue, an emotional issue, whatever it is…worst case scenario…you could die. For all of us who love and believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior when we die we know what happens next. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15 that in the twinkling of an eye the dead in Christ shall rise. Not with the imperfect bodies we have here that can die, but with perfect ones that can never die. The apostle John wrote in Revelation 21:4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever. So for us as followers of Christ, worst case scenario…is Heaven! The worst is can be from our current perspective…is the best it can ever be…forever!
So now, understanding that for you as a Christ follower…there is no worst case scenario…Go be Awesome