Friday, June 1, 2012

I was destined to be "great".

I always knew I was going to do big things with my life. I didn't know how, or when, but I knew.

That's what my Grandpa did, that's what my parents do, so that's what I would do.  Naturally.

So I began planning and preparing. I tracked out my goals, my career path, and my mentors. I was always "preparing" for when something would break through and things would finally take off. I founded a ministry when I was 20 using horses to teach spiritual and relational principles. The plan was to advance in my horsemanship, speaking, and presentational skills so that I could travel around the country teaching and sharing with horses.  I wanted to be big.

Fast forward to cancer.

I've been given a terminal cancer diagnosis. I've lost a lot of my physical aptitude. I had to sell my best horse because I didn't have the physical or mental ability to train him any more. I put my plans for a Master's degree on the shelf.  I struggle to think and even communicate my thoughts some days. I'm so tired and
drained emotionally, spiritually, and physically. 

I just saw my friend who was diagnosed a few weeks before me, die this week from his own fight with cancer. 

I'm weak, so weak. 

But, can I boast a little bit?
  1. This blog just hit 100,000 pageviews!
  2. It has been visited by people in over 80 countries like Qatar, Slovakia, Macau, South Korea, and Vietnam.
  3. I've had the chance to speak all over the state to all kinds of events and to thousands of people in the last couple months.
  4. I am currently working with an agent to help get two books published.
Praise be to God, He is using me more than He ever has.

But, I'm weaker now than I've ever been before.

The two things go together.

As Paul experienced with his thorn in the side, we are at our most useful when we are most broken. 

2 Corinthians 12:7-10
7 ... Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. ” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

It's easy to say, "God is stronger when I am weaker". Being weak is never "fun". Paul calls his struggle, "a messenger of Satan". That's not a comfortable or easy state to live in. However Paul has seen the other side. He knows what the joy and the peace of living a life in weakness brings. He also now realizes how pathetic he is on his own. Without God, and his sufficient grace, Paul couldn't do anything. 

I'm fulfilling those dreams to have an impact that God gave me years and years ago, but I never imagined it would be like this. I feel like God is doing all of this in spite of me, not because of me. When I think about my ability to achieve these things in the last year it seems impossible to me. 

It doesn't make any sense for a person who has limited time left, to spend time trying to build a ministry that largely focuses around their story. What good does popularity, or acclaim, or attention do you once you're gone? 

God has eliminated the option for arrogance and conceit. Should I think I can do this on my own, he knocks me down physically or mentally. Should I think this is all about me, it could be over right now. 

Therefore all that I do is solely to point people to Christ for HIS praise. The best way I can do that is to show how awesome my God is that he can use a broken down, mentally challenged, terminal cancer patient and prop him up to a place where anybody wants to listen to him!

The weaker I become the more glory God receives, then I become strong!


Lindsey Cihak said...

I thought of this passage as soon as I read this entry and think that your words embody it. You and your family are such an inspiration and example of God's amazing strength! Thank you for continuing to remind us all of how powerful He truly is! We certainly are like jars of clay that He continues to craft with His loving hands.

2 Cor 4-12
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

Ryan said...

Thanks Lindsey! You and your family have been a huge encouragement to us as well! That passage is exactly how we feel! Hopefully we'll see you at chapel or some where else this summer!