By Dr. William Holland
For Capital Region Independent Media
I have a good friend who is seriously ill with late-stage cancer.
When he was diagnosed about two years ago, he began to write and send a daily text thread to friends about his treatments, how he is doing, the weather, anything associated with astronomy, and a generous number of philosophical thoughts. His personality is that of a thinker who appreciates the beauty of simple things.
As I have read his thoughts and was allowed to see into his soul, it has been such a blessing and encouragement to see the good work that God has been doing in his life.
He has gone through a lot more discomfort and challenges than we know. He has always been an optimistic person and now even in his difficult moments, his light of love and hope cannot be hindered.
The Bible mentions in Psalm 91:1-2 about finding a secret place with God where nothing or no one can penetrate, disturb or threaten. It is a refuge where even though the storms may be intense and the violence of spiritual warfare rages all around us, we are safe and at peace in His presence.
When he writes about sitting next to the window in his recliner covered with several layers of blankets, those of us who are constantly on the go can hardly grasp the beauty of being still before God. When he allows us to enter into his world of simplicity with things such as watching the rabbits and squirrels running around the yard doing what they need to do to survive, we see the quiet analogy of how he is doing the same thing.
He talks about the neighbor’s dogs and cats and how he imagines their daily routines or things like watching the snowflakes falling and how as a child he loved to try to catch them on his tongue. He often mentions the importance of community and how we need to care about each other and not be consumed with the fast pace of life that we forget to live.
Humility, meekness and an attitude of gratitude help prevent haughtiness from gaining control.
And there is the frequent mention of the trinity, as this is a reference to the awareness of God’s Spirit and the passionate desire to be in His will. To me, he is more than a survivor; he is a lighthouse. His lifestyle of sensitivity and compassion has always been a contrast from how the fast-paced world operates, and now that he has opened the door for us to get to know him on a more personal level, it’s the Lord that is reminding us what walking in His Spirit actually means.
It’s fascinating to realize that when we are not feeling any pain and have the energy to do whatever we want, we do not think about what it would be like to be sick. When we hear about those who discover they have a terminal disease, we are sad and say a prayer, then off we go back to our busy lives and the carousel of what we believe is important.
It’s when WE receive a negative report that our merry-go-round comes to a stop. If there was ever a time in our lives to take the lantern of self-examination down the path into our soul, it would be then. When the distractions and clutter are removed we can make things right with everyone, especially God.
Our perspective changes as our world is now different. Beyond the reality that God is the ultimate authority, this does not mean that we do not have the opportunity to make critical choices. We can allow the feelings of hopelessness and fear to dictate our minds and hold us in depression, or we can see the glass as half full and be humble and thankful for all the blessings and good things that God has given to us throughout our lives. Instead of becoming bitter, we could invest our time into interceding for others.
My friend has always loved kayaking and admiring the beauty of God’s nature. He looks forward to going this spring and always includes at the end of his posts that he will see us creekside. He closes the thread the same way every day by encouraging everyone to find the stillness within God’s grace.
His heart sings, he is grateful, and he is always wearing his sunglasses because God’s love and mercy is shining on him so brightly.
Read more about the Christian life at billyhollandministries.com