Nov 3, 2014

"What is Lacking in Your Experience of Me?" (4th Post about Teri's and my journey with Cancer)

I have a category or two for folks who come to me and say, "I've got a word from the Lord for you, brother…"  Of course it depends on the messenger, the viability of the message compared to God's Word, the confirmation of the Spirit of God within me with said message, etc., but, I have over the years been surprised, and don't doubt at all anymore that God uses many different ones of us with different gifts to deliver precise messages at the right time.

That's why Teri and I listened, when one of our most dear friends (upon hearing of Teri's ordeal with cancer), came to visit us, arriving in our dining room with fresh flowers, and a 'word': "What is lacking in your experience of Me?"

First thing that came to my mind was, the repeat of this scenario: where the closest woman to me in my life is hit with breast cancer (I watched my mother die of this in 1975).  The Lord may want me to go through this again, but this time, with my being keenly aware of Him walking through every step of this with us, redeeming the moments, the relationships, and even the memories.  Teri was already modeling the same godliness I remember my mother exemplifying - one of the things that eventually drew me to Christ.  So I decided it must be something more, something even deeper...

Second thing took longer to dawn on me - trusting Him immediately and implicitly with the closest person to me in my life.  We have been spoiled, Teri and I, with her health.  She rarely if ever even gets a cold!  So this was a shock, an anomaly, and obviously an opportunity.  And such is the way we all who follow Jesus need to learn to see things.  To follow such a God, is to eventually come to the realization that the scariest thing that can ever happen to us is only what our loving Father God will allow, and therefore, He has it covered, either by the blood of His Son, the eventual outworking of His foreknowledge, or the overflowing nature of His love and goodness.  To be sure of such things, is to then abide in peace, the peace that surpasses understanding, for at a certain point, to rely solely upon all you know will fail, and one is then thrust into the arena of what you do not know - and now, now there is much room for God.

Third thing - and this is a bit more complicated because is it multi-dimentional - is the assured process of growth over time.  In Philippians 1:6 it says, "He Who began a good work in you will complete that work until the day of Christ Jesus.".  James 1:2-4 says, "Count it all joy my brethren when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  And let endurance have it's perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."  This 'completeness' is a maturity, an ever deepening process of growth, and I believe will accelerate into all eternity: making us more and more like Jesus, forever… Romans 8:28 says that God causes all things to work together for the good, to those who love God and are called according to His purposes.  2 Corinthians 5:19 says that 

"God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, and He has now given us that same ministry of reconciliation".  Hmm.  That must mean that whatever is going on here, God is using this to add to the pantheon of experiences that help shape us into the tools of reconciliation that He requires, for whatever time, and whatever purpose.  

So what is lacking in my experience of God?  So much actually, but "He knows our frame, He knows that we are but dust" Pslam 103:14, and yet He continually draws us so gently, so graciously to Himself, where there is peace and completeness.  Paul sums it up nicely in Philippians 3:7-10:  We want to know Him.  And that will require the fellowship of His sufferings, and even the being conformed into the image of His death.  There is a purpose however - so that we may attain the resurrection from the dead.  Wow.  That's power.  That's purpose.  That's direction.  And true, satisfying Fulfillment.

I would add that Teri and I are more aware of His presence, more trusting of His will for us, and more keenly availing ourselves to His process of growth in our lives than ever before.  And not that we will ever attain to some sort of perfect state this side of eternity!  But we can more clearly say with Paul, more than ever before in our lives, "...forgetting what lies behind, and looking forward to what lies ahead, we press on toward the goal for the mark, for the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 3:14.


  1. So pleased to find this update as I opened up e-mail today. God's Best to you both. ~~Jennifer Richardson (Biola family)

  2. Thank you for sharing this Bill. I don`t know what lies ahead but we certainly have a better perspective through this whatever we need to face in the future.

  3. AMEN, Bill and Teri! Thanks for sharing and blessing the body of Christ. Heather