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Thursday, 17 December 2009

Suffering Well

James tells us to consider it pure joy whenever we suffer trails of many kinds. Trials - "pure joy"? Is he serious? Malignant brain tumours - pure joy?? Really?!

Those of us who want to be gospel centered and Christ honouring have got to get hold of this and the wealth of other scripture about suffering. I'm struggling more and more with Christians who find it easier and more agreeable to believe in a God who doesn't want to allow suffering and who therefore is somehow on the back foot much of the time rather than to believe in a God who reigns over all, who ordains all things for his glorious purposes and who supplies sufficient resource to enable us to be more than conquerors in any and every situation.

How do people ever live in the face of pain and loss when they don't have the assurance that comes from the fact that God's totally sovereign and He's our Father who loves. I don't get it.

Previously I posted Matt Chandler's DVD about the surgery that he was about to go through. Yesterday we heard the pathology results and I've posted below some of what the Elders wrote to their church. It's powerful and humbling, and I have to say, compelling and attractive. Allow your heart to be moved and do pray for Matt, his family and the church.

Dear church,
In the first chapter of Philippians, the Apostle Paul writes that whatever imprisonments, beatings and trials he may have suffered, they all “serve to advance the gospel” of Jesus Christ. We implore you to keep the gospel of Christ as the main focus as we walk with Matt and Lauren through this trial.
On Tuesday, Dr. Barnett informed Matt and Lauren that the findings of the pathology report revealed a malignant brain tumor that was not encapsulated. The surgery to remove the tumor, the doctor said, was an extremely positive first step; however, because of the nature of the tumor, he was not able to remove all of it.
Matt, who is being released from the hospital today, is meeting with a neuro-oncologist this week to outline the next steps of the recovery process. There is a range of treatment possibilities but the exact course of action has not yet been determined. He will continue outpatient rehab.
The Lord is calling Matt and Lauren and The Village Church body to endure this trial. It will be a challenging road for Matt, his family and our church body. The gospel is our hope and the Lord is our strength. Matt and Lauren continue to find solace and hope in Christ. They weep facing this trial, but not as those without hope and perspective. The gospel clarifies their suffering and promises more of Christ through it all.
You have done a wonderful job respecting the family, and we ask that you continue to do this. They are processing all of this together and need you to give them precious space. Please do not visit them at their house unless personally invited by the Chandlers. The best way to serve the family is to continue to be faithful in prayer.

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