I quoted a Beatles song in last Sunday’s message, but somehow afterwards a friend in our congregation was low enough to suggest on social media that I was a closet country music fan. It had to do with something I said in the sermon that apparently reminded him of the words of a country song, but I promise I had never heard it before.
For the record, I am not now, nor have I ever been a country music fan. However, there have been times lately that I’ve felt like I was living out the lyrics of a bad country song. Fortunately my wife hasn’t left me, and I don’t have a truck that could break down, but otherwise the summer of 2018 has not been kind to me so far.
One week there was a scheduled biopsy, and the next there was the loss of a couple of people who were dear to me, one in our church family and another in our family. After two funerals in two days, the next day I ended up in the emergency room on our wedding anniversary for what turned out to be a long miserable day and a diagnosis of diverticulitis. I can’t imagine what you could get to rhyme with that for a country song, but as some of you who have had it know well, it was one very dastardly disease. It had me singing the blues, and I’m not completely over it yet.
Just a few days after my ER visit, while I was still in bed, I got the call from my doctor that the tests from my biopsy were positive, and that I did have cancer of the prostate. When he found out I was in the middle of a battle with diverticulitis, the doctor said we should probably wait a few weeks until I was able to recover from that before we started talking about treating the cancer. Of course, during our time of waiting, the hits have just kept on coming. First, we had a storm that knocked our power out for two days, and then this week we had to say goodbye to our beloved dog Heidi, who we have had since she was born 13 years ago. Did I mention this has been a rough month?
Someone at the gym last week, who was trying to make me feel better–speaking in Osteen-ish cliches–told me that God is good, so everything will turn out okay for me, health-wise. I think I surprised her a bit when I answered back, yes, God is good, but He will be good whether I make it through all this or not. His goodness is not determined by any diagnosis or bad circumstances. His character is never-changing; He is good, He is faithful, and He is merciful, no matter what we face. And, as for me and my house…we trust Him.
I had a friend about 25 years ago who we tried to get to be our worship leader at the church I was pastoring. He was immensely gifted as a musician and vocalist, but his main focus at that point was trying to be a Christian country music artist and he decided to go in that direction. I don’t know what happened to him, but I remember well one of his songs, dripping with country twang and echoing the typical “hard times” theme of that genre of music. The twist was that the song focused on the joy and peace he had in Christ that superseded the tough times he was going through. The song was titled: “Even My Bad Days Are Good.”
I will say that this last month has not been a lot of fun, and things might get worse before they get better. But the reality is–and this is not some shallow, trite country music-type cliche, but real life faith in a real life God–that because God loves me and has been gracious to me, “even my bad days are good.” I hope you know His goodness too.
Let me take a minute before I close to say thanks for all the love and support and prayers this past month. We are so grateful for each of you, and glad we don’t have to walk through tough times alone.