Strength = Austin Macemore

Almost 2 decades ago I entered the hospital for what was undoubtedly the beginning of the hardest few months of my life. I was born with a heart defect - my aortic valve was "leaky" - and at the tender age of 26 it was time to replace it. After lengthy open heart surgery and several days of in-hospital recovery, I returned home for what was months of rehabilitation.

My first goal was being able to walk a mile which turned into a couple of miles which then became 10 miles a day. Then I wanted to run, so I did. In fact, a little over two months after my surgery I ran in a 5K race. The reason I was able to do this was because my heart was now "fixed" which allowed it to beat efficiently for the first time in my life. No more getting winded quickly or overdoing it with basic tasks. My heart was finally strong.

I have good friend who is in the hospital right now, but it's not for his heart. Austin Macemore is struggling with cancer and has since he was just a boy. At age 18 and a recent high school graduate, Austin is back in the hospital because the disease which plagued his early life is now trying to define his adult life. Austin has undergone more surgeries in the past couple of years and most recently a biopsy to see if this invader wants to continue to wage war against his body. Cancer is pretty strong, but I've learned that Austin is stronger. And if you ask Austin, he'll tell you that God is strongest.

We've all heard stories of people who bravely face seemingly insurmountable medical mountains and stare disease squarely in the face with unshakeable resolve. Well, this is another one of those stories. Austin is one of those guys that, if you can't handle life lived to the fullest and unrestrained joy and laughter, then you probably can't handle being around him. He is energy and hope personified. And while childhood cancer took an early toll on his physical development, whenever Austin walks in the room he is instantly the biggest guy there.

Yet even when times are dark and medicines and their side-effects take a debilitating toll on Austin, his resolve remains the same because he knows that he's not fighting alone. The source of Austin's hope and optimism and strength is in God, not in himself. When treatments leave him drained and weak, God is his strength. When he's stuck at home to recover and the rest of the world is about their daily routines and he feels all alone, God is his strength. It's not always easy to claim strength in the Lord especially when you've gone through so much, but that's exactly where Austin and his family have found their anchor.

If you know Austin personally then you are probably smiling right now, recalling just how much he impacts the lives of those around him. And if you don't know Austin, then maybe you know someone like him, a person who responds to adversity with uncommon strength and perseverance. While Austin loves being in the limelight and the limelight loves him, if you took a minute to ask him what it's all about the conversation would quickly shift to the grace and love of God through Jesus Christ. Just ask his parents, Wayne and Teena Macemore, and you'll hear more of the same (especially from Wayne because that man is one heck of a talker!).

So would you take a moment to pray for my friend Austin? Pray for physical healing and pray for his family, especially his parents and two younger brothers. Pray that through all of this God would receive the glory. There are times when we feel we can stand on our own and other times when we have nothing left. Yet regardless of the situation, God is our strength. And this makes Austin Macemore the strongest young man that I know.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful story of a young man who knows where to place his hope and trust! Praying for Austin and his family. May God bless this wonderful family and your family as well, Sterling!

Beverly York said...

I remember when Austin was born and he was on the prayer list at my church. He had a relative who attended our church and she told us about him. I started praying for him then and was so happy when he was able to have a bone marrow transplant and survived. I'm saddened to hear he's going through another battle and I will be praying for him again. I don't know him personally, but, I've watched him as he grew up and how full of life he is. If anybody can beat this, it's him.

Anonymous said...

what type of cancer did austin have if you dont mind me asking

Sterling Griggs said...

He had childhood cancer (not sure exactly what kind) and then in high school the cancer came back into his neck and eventually his lungs.

The honest hypocrite

The Bean There, Done That looks like any other coffee shop near a major college campus. Olive colored walls, dim ligh...