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God is Reshaping Me

When I interact with husbands whose wives are survivors of childhood sexual abuse, I often speak of how God seeks to reshape us so that we can be free from the attitudes and behaviors that are destructive to us as husbands and detrimental to our marriage. I sometimes refer to this as personal development.

God has been reshaping me.

I am embarrassed to acknowledge my beginning point. I cannot deny it because it is recorded in my journal. I wrote this prayer in my journal during the first week of December 2018; one year ago. The first sentence is fine. It’s the second sentence that makes me want to hang my head.

Lord, I want to know you more deeply, of how you are gracious, compassionate, rich in love, good to all, faithful, and loving. But I want to know you more without having to go through trials of bad health.

That was 2018. I can summarize 2019 with this short phrase: two head injuries and a cancer diagnosis.

In March, Pamela and I were on a 10-day trip to Israel with a group from our church. Two days before the trip concluded I decided to ride a camel. I should have been more astute about its ornery behavior. Pistachio, the camel, threw me off before I was fully mounted. We did a head butt as I dropped four to five feet to the unforgiving ground. I had a concussion and severe bruising. I was thankful that no bones were broken or that I ended up paralyzed.

In August, I had an early morning bicycling accident. I was unconscious for two minutes and had a brain bleed in spite of the helmet I was wearing. Rather than listing my injuries, I’ll just mention that I was in the hospital for four days and am only now, four months later, finishing up physical therapy for my hands, neck, and shoulder. Again, I am grateful. I could have easily been killed or paralyzed for life. By the way, the injuries do explain, in part, why I have not been writing blogs in the past few months.

In between the two accidents, I was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia, a typically slow developing cancer. (See Three Vital Truths for Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse).

But the major event in 2019 was none of these three events. God’s reshaping event occurred on Sunday, April 7. The pastor’s sermon in church that day focused on Mary’s complete devotion to Jesus as she poured out the costly perfume at the feet of Jesus. It was a good sermon, but nothing struck me. I was asking God if there was anything I needed to surrender. I couldn’t think of anything. I know, that sounds arrogant, but it’s the truth.

As the pastor was about to pray, there was a whisper in my soul that I knew was coming from God. “Will you surrender your good health?”

“Will you surrender your good health?”

My good health has always been important to me. With good health, I can:

  • Keep on working.
  • Not have to think about frailty.
  • Not have to think about death.
  • Not be inconvenienced.
  • Feel young.
  • Feel subconsciously invincible.

Good health was a god to me because I rested in it and relied on it.

Good health was a god to me because I rested in it and relied on it.

As the pastor began praying, I began writing out my prayer. I was not bargaining in this prayer. There were no negotiations.

Lord, if my good health is to be poured out as a fragrant sacrifice to You, it is okay. I surrender, knowing that:
You know me.
You know my name.
You will never leave me.
You are worthy.
You are sufficient. (written 4/7/19)

A couple weeks later, I received the cancer diagnosis. Here’s a principle of which I am fully convinced: God was not asking me to surrender so that He could beat up on me. He was asking me to surrender so that my attitudes and behaviors could be reshaped for the coming circumstances.

God was not asking me to surrender so that He could beat up on me.
He was asking me to surrender so that my attitudes and behaviors
could be reshaped for the coming circumstances.

One year after that 2018 journal entry, I am able to say,

Lord, I know there is more to learn, but I’ve come to experience more than ever before that you are gracious, compassionate, rich in love, good to all, faithful, and loving.

God does seek to reshape us so that we can be free
from the attitudes and behaviors that are destructive
to us as husbands and detrimental to our marriage.

2 Responses on “God is Reshaping Me

  1. Linda moore says:

    Oct I was told I had breast cancer. I had the same in2001 and had a mastectomy. This time I have to have chemo starting in two weeks. So thankful for God’s peace. You certainly have had your trials. But the Lord has promised to be with us and will never leave us!!!!

    1. Thank you Linda. Yes, the assurance of God’s presence is our hope.

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