First of all, I really admire Max Lucado. I have been reading his work way before he was ever picked up by mainstream Christianity.
“On The Anvil” came out in a period of difficult transition for me. I have always wanted to go to his church in San Antonio and listen to him preach, but never have made it over there in the 13 years I’ve lived in Austin. For some reason San Antonio and Austin have always seemed light years apart from each other, and that reason may be due to I-35.
It’s just that since Max came along, now anytime any of the rest of us start to wax poetic about the human condition and spirituality, that reading is going to end up sounding like Max one way or another.
We can hardly imagine talking about humanity and Christian living in any other way.
I don’t mean my words as a criticism on the lack of creativity in religious writing, just more as a nod to one of the most influential Contemporary Christian writers of our time.
Please excuse any similarity.
I just gotta be me.
When I first met Michelle 6 years ago, she was very angry around anything relating to God, church, etc. Anytime I took her to church, I could expect a good 20 minute rant about this, that or the other pertaining to the sermon following the service.
I didn’t discourage her discharge. It occurred to me that at least she was talking about these things and that’s more than I can say for many people that I know.
It’s not like I couldn’t relate, even if in my own way.
As a former preacher’s kid, I lived a life that was supposed to look good on the outside so that our family was not embarrassed.
I followed all these rules to a ‘T’. I didn’t dance, didn’t drink, didn’t smoke or do drugs, didn’t take guns to school, didn’t beat up skinny kids, etc.
Even so, not long after I graduated from college, I found myself in most every other 12 step program besides those already suggested.
Through that program I realized I was not mad at God because of the circumstances in my life that got me to where I was, but at who I thought God was. Those prayers that I had prayed to God to help me during the darker years before recovery, they had actually been answered, I just couldn’t see the answers at the time.
I came to see that God was bigger than a church, a set of rules or opinions. God is everywhere, and he had been with me even when after I had been told that if I went to places I ought not to go, he wouldn’t.
I began to undersand the phrase often repeated in 12 step room, “Take what you need and leave the rest.”
That saying is good guidance for hearing something that one might not agree with in a 12 step meeting, but it also works outside of those rooms.
To say that Michelle and I have had an on again/off again relationship is an understatement. My desire to do the ‘right thing’ has continued to possess me, but as of late I have come into an understanding that this she the right thing.
One thing that is completely irresistible to me about Michelle is that she knows everything about me and still is not repulsed by me. She knows the reason why I checked myself into a hospital for 3 weeks before I went to graduate school, she knows everything I’ve done since I have met her.
She’s had to endure a bit.
Now her sister has been diagnosed with cancer in nearly every part of her body. It is Michelle that now wants to go to church, that suggests that we pray with me way more than I suggest it.
We pray for Michelle to have peace during this time of unknowing. We pray for her sister, her 4 kids aged 3-13, the oldest who has Downe’s Syndrome, we pray for her brother in law who lost his own brother in a car accident shortly before Michelle and I began to date.
This is an accident that happened right in front of a place I used to work.
I definitely remember the day it happened. The accident involved multiple cars, and the southbound side of 183 was closed for the rest of the day.
I pray for complete healing of Michelle's sister because I’ve heard other people do it. For as long as I've known her, my friend Ann has prayed everyday complete healing for her son who has multiple sclerosis.
He has not been completely healed, but his quality of life is quite well, I was at his wedding and saw him get married this year. His best man pushed him around on the dance floor as he danced with his wife. She eventually just sat in his lap.
Sometimes I am not sure if we should be praying for that.
Sometimes it feels like a set up. I don’t know how all of this is going to end up, but if her sister doesn’t make it, Michelle’s not going to be very happy.
Last night Michelle prayed to God telling him that there is no way that He should be able to let the mother of these children die.
I’ve heard that when we pray we shouldn’t make demands of God, but it doesn’t seem right for people to dictate how we should talk to God. I think that God wants us to shout at him or cry to him if we need to.
For those people who need proof of that, we only need to flip open to practically any of the Psalms, and you can see that David didn't mind expressing his emotions to God in any way he felt.
I pray because that’s what I can do. Maybe God will say yes, just like he did to my grandfather in the 1960s when he had cancer. I’m not always so sure whether or not God will answer the prayer. I'm sometimes afraid that he won't.
Why do some people get miraculous recoveries and some don’t? My dad told us of many stories of personal experiences he had with people that he was visiting that were on their death bed that were unexplainably healed. He even had non-believing doctors that had witnessed patient recoveries that they didn't understand.
Last Monday, we got concerned because her sister’s words weren’t making any sense. On the way to the hospital, she had a seizure in the ambulance.
We were later informed that the seizures were a side effect to the radiation treatments she’s been getting, which is also attributing to her short-term memory loss.
At any rate, Michelle and I prayed for 30 minutes last Monday in her car.
And we will probably do that tonight again too.