An update from Cecil Vanhouten 3
01.20.13 | | Comments
The latest medical update from Cecil Van Houten deeply spoke to my heart. I pray it does the same for you:
Written Jan 19, 2013 10:48am
Medical update: I have a new diagnosis this week. Two out of three cardiologists have determined I'm a boring patient. Things remain stable without (thank the Lord) any more issues or complications so we continue to wait. That's a good thing. But medically speaking, I've become boring. Feel free to pray that I continue to be boring - I can live with that.
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(By the way, many people have asked questions about the transplant, hospital life and what it's like to be here for an 'extended stay'. Next blog, "Your FAQ's".)
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I’ve had the opportunity to meet and get to know a lot of people in the nearly seven years I’ve been with Family Life. Some breeze in and out of my life, others become acquaintances and some become friends. One person whose friendship I’ve grown to appreciate is JMR. My memory’s a little fuzzy but I think it was when I was doing afternoons that I first heard from him. It was either a phone call or an email that began the dialogue and over the years his interest in Christian music and Family Life led him to come down for Sharathons and other events. He’s been an avid listener and supporter for some time. In fact, he’s Mr. Oinker’s agent for events outside the United States.
I say “come down” because JMR lives “north of the 49th” in Ontario, Canada. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that, although some of us still haven’t forgiven them for Bryan Adams) JMR is as Canadian as maple syrup and hockey. Celebrates Thanksgiving a month early. Wears shorts and a parka at the same time. We both enjoy a good joke and kidding each other but we do differ on one thing: I’m a dog person and he's a cat person.
Well, nobody’s perfect.
We’ve kept in touch since I’ve been here on “the Rock”. Still I was totally surprised last weekend when he stopped by for a visit. He was in Buffalo on business and decided to drive over and say ‘hi’. We spent over an hour talking and sharing stories and laughing. It was a good time. But then when it was almost time for him to leave, he turned serious and said he wanted to share something with me. He’d been praying all day, asking the Lord to show him a passage of scripture that would speak to me. It didn’t come to him until he was in the parking garage here but when it did, he knew it was what the Lord wanted him to share. I don’t think I’d ever seen him more serious. I sat in silence, closed my eyes and listened. This is what he read…
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
To the saints and faithful brothers
in Christ at Colossae:
Grace to you and peace
from God our Father.
We always thank God, the Father of
our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you,
since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus
and of the love that you have
for all the saints, because of
the hope laid up for you in heaven.
Of this you have heard before
in the word of the truth, the gospel,
which has come to you, as indeed in
the whole world it is bearing fruit
and increasing—as it also does among you,
since the day you heard it
and understood the grace of God
in truth, just as you learned it
from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant.
He is a faithful minister of Christ
on your behalf and has made known to us
your love in the Spirit.
And so, from the day we heard,
we have not ceased to pray for you,
asking that you may be filled with the
knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom
and understanding, so as to walk
in a manner worthy of the Lord,
fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit
in every good work and increasing
in the knowledge of God.
May you be strengthened with all power,
according to his glorious might,
for all endurance and patience with joy,
giving thanks to the Father,
who has qualified you to share in
the inheritance of the saints in light.
He has delivered us from the domain
of darkness and transferred us to
the kingdom of his beloved Son,
in whom we have redemption,
the forgiveness of sins.
He is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn of all creation.
For by him all things were created,
in heaven and on earth, visible
and invisible, whether thrones or dominions
or rulers or authorities—all things were
created through him and for him.
And he is before all things,
and in him all things hold together.
And he is the head of the body,
the church. He is the beginning,
the firstborn from the dead,
that in everything he might be preeminent.
For in him all the fullness of God
was pleased to dwell, and through him
to reconcile to himself all things,
whether on earth or in heaven,
making peace by the blood of his cross.
And you, who once were alienated
and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,
he has now reconciled in his
body of flesh by his death,
in order to present you holy
and blameless and above reproach
before him, if indeed you continue
in the faith, stable and steadfast,
not shifting from the hope
of the gospel that you heard,
which has been proclaimed in
all creation under heaven,
and of which I, Paul, became a minister.
Now I rejoice in my sufferings
for your sake, and in my flesh
I am filling up what is lacking in
Christ's afflictions for the sake
of his body, that is, the church,
of which I became a minister
according to the stewardship from God
that was given to me for you,
to make the word of God fully known,
the mystery hidden for ages
and generations but now revealed
to his saints. To them God chose
to make known how great
among the Gentiles are the riches
of the glory of this mystery,
which is Christ in you,
the hope of glory.
Him we proclaim, warning everyone
and teaching everyone with all wisdom,
that we may present everyone
mature in Christ. For this I toil,
struggling with all his energy that
he powerfully works within me.
(Colossians 1 ESV)
I opened my eyes. JMR had tears in his. I sat there for a few moments letting the words, at once both familiar and new, wash over my spirit. There wasn’t much more that needed to be said. We prayed together then he left to begin the long drive home. I stood, looking out my window, contemplating Paul’s words. It had been cloudy all day but now as I looked to the west there was a break in the clouds and I could see the sun receding beneath the horizon, a bright, glowing orange ball. It was there all day but hidden behind the clouds. It wasn’t immediately apparent; you had to look for it. And you had to wait for it. It didn’t show itself until there were just a few minutes of daylight left. But in the end, it was there.
Hope is the same way. It’s inside us. It's part of our spiritual DNA. We can't separate ourselves from it any more than we can peel away our personality. But in those times in life when we’re overwhelmed by the circumstances we face or discouraged by the clouds that hang over us, we sometimes forget what we know and feel lost and alone. Don't be discouraged; remember, there is a secret and here it is – “Christ in you, the hope of glory”.
It’s the treasure that’s inside us; the kind of thing that would inspire JMR to drive hundreds of miles to share a passage of scripture not knowing what it was going to be. It’s what motivates us to live out the gospel in a world filled with chaos and hurt and fear. The light that illuminates our path; truth with skin on.
It's “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
For more updates from Cecil, please log-on to http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/cecilvanhouten
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