Cheerful Mourning?!?!?

Last night Allison and I got one of those phone calls you never want to receive. The kind that turns your world upside down and make you feel as though your chest may cave in at any moment. We got the call that Allison's dad, David, had collapsed and been taken to the ER. When he arrived and they did multiple tests they found what no person wants to ever find in another. David's body and brain are completely ravaged with cancer. It is so intense and advanced that they have given him little to no time. How can you process something like that? How do you reassure one another that God is in control? How can you find any peace or joy in the midst of such a tragic circumstance? How do you not get angry with God? But there is a way. 

Romans says that in all things God is at work for the good of His people! In all things, the good and the bad! Over the next few hours and days, however long David has, our adventure will be finding the good that God is working. We get to search out the miracles that God will do. 

There's this other scripture that is very hard to swallow....."Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

How is that possible in a time like this? I think the answer lies in perspective. I can be thankful, cheerful and joyful no matter what when my perspective is right. So what's the perspective? GRATITUDE! I can find myself being thankful for the goft God gave me, my wife and my kids through him. I can rejoice in the good stories, laugh about the not so good and be grateful for the moments we have shared.

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For nearly 1/2 my life David has been an influence on me. He has taught me so much about life. He has taught me a ton about being a father and a husband. What I appreciate always is the transparency he has always shared with me. He has allowed his greatest mistakes to be the classroom for life. He has not tried to put off as being a perfect dad, father, man or any other sort of person. He has always just been David. And, at times, David has been a tough guy to like and understand. But, because David has always shown honor to me, my wife and my family....I have never found it hard to love him. He has inspired me, he has challenged me and he has made me laugh. I will never forget the conversations that challanged my views on life and helped me become a better pastor. He helped me see life from an angle I would have never known. He helped me stretch my creativity. And, he taught me to always work hard to get what I want out of life. 

David was a great grandfather to my kids. They think Grandpa hung the moon! They loved their time with him. The loved that dang beard! And they loved their adventures on the farm fishing, riding horses and driving the tractor. It's amazing to know that my kids will always remember Grandpa in that way. That is a gift that he has given to them. 

The greatest influence David had on my life was the gift of his daughter. David entrusted Allison to me, something I will never be able to say thank you enough. Being a dad of 2 girls, I can't imagine the level of trust and faith it will take to entrust them to some guy one day. I got the chance to tell David thank you for that gift just last night.

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His life, his legacy and his creativity will continue to inspire our family, my ministry and countless others in the years to come. I am choosing gratitude as my perspective. I am thankful for all that David has done for me, all he has been for me and all he has inspired in me. In this perspective I find the grief to be less, the anxiety reduced and the anger to be diffused. When we choose gratitude in the midst of life's toughest moments, it becomes easier to be cheerful and thankful no matter what!