When the whole idea of having cancer was new and frightening and Heaven seemed to be right around the corner…
Heaven or my idea of what heaven may be like was my one true solace. I have a vision of heaven that can bring me to joyful tears almost every time I think about it. Back in July and August; being in church and singing certain hymns would most assuredly cause a fountain of tears and I’d have to do my best not to be seen blubbering in the pew. My wife’s simple gesture of reassurance by resting her hand on mine during one of those moments almost made me fall completely apart. I was a mess through the end of the summer but I was a joyful mess.
If you were to cross two of your fingers on one hand, that was God and me. Like two peas in a pod, I felt that close to Him. But then we started to drift. No, I started to drift. The chemo was doing it’s thing, and the cancer was shrinking. And then came along the magic elixir that I’m currently on and with it came a life with no side effects. I mean it doesn’t effect me in the least, and with a slightly modified perspective of “being healthy” I was back to normal. Oh sure, I know I still have incurable cancer, but do I? After all I’m feeling pretty darn good these days. And that beautiful dependence on my everlasting God that carried me through my darkest moments is slowly replaced by a dependence on my fleeting and fragile health.
It was during the realization of what I was doing that I heard the Spirit of God ask me the same question that Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me?” Instead of emphatically answering back with an affirmative, “Yes”, I instead found myself listing reasons of why I call Christ my Lord.
While this isn’t what I thought in my head it rang just as hollow:
“Lord I have this wonderful understanding of who you are from both systematic and biblical theology.”
Like a small faint whisper I heard, “But, do you love me?”
“Lord I have this most wonderfully righteous doctrine I subscribe to.”
This time the voice pulled at me urgently, “But, do you love me?”
“Do I love you?”
I have struggled with this for weeks. Even now as I write this there are arguments running through my mind. Even as I believe I know what’s being asked of me. “Do you love me with a child like faith, abandoning all the ways you try to define who and what I am? Do you love me simply and for no other reason than because I am your God?”