Strength Part 2: When the news isn't good

My friend Austin Macemore went to see a specialist at Duke University yesterday and the news he received was not good, at least not from man's standards. It appears that cancer has spread into his lungs and, according to the doctor, there is nothing they can do to remove it or stop it. The only option on the table for Austin is a drug that helps to slow down the spread of the cancer. They don't know a definite timetable - they guess 1-2 years - but it could be a whole lot longer.

What did Austin do when he heard the news? He told the doctor, "I'm ready to go ahead and take the medicine you talked about so I can get on with my life." He then pumped his fist and bumped knuckles with his dad, Wayne.

Are you kidding me? He really did that? Yes he did.

You would be mistaken if you thought this kind of news was not devastating on many levels. To be sure, Austin and his family don't want this. There have been tears shed and there will be more in the future. No one knows how fast the cancer will spread or if Austin will live 60 more years. But God knows. And God knows exactly what He desires to accomplish through this.

There probably isn't a person on this earth who hasn't asked God this one question: "Why?" Why do things like cancer and traumatic accidents and stillborn births and broken marriages and job losses happen? Better yet, why do they happen to people who love God and are living lives for His glory?

I don't know the answer to that. But God does.

God has a purpose for everything. Austin believes this and so does his family. The purpose may not be the one that we would choose for our lives but we can rest assured that the version we would choose for the path of our lives is pretty weak compare to the plans that God has. And it is this purpose that is giving Austin strength, that led him to tell the doctor to go ahead and give him the medicine because he has a life to keep living.

If you are reading this and you know Austin, then you too are hurting for him. As you think and pray for Austin, ask yourself what you can learn from his circumstance. Look at Austin's faith and ask yourself if you share the same trust in God that he has. Understand that this isn't what Austin would choose for his life - I'm pretty sure no one would - but he can bear it because above all other things his life is surrendered to Christ. And there is nothing more that would please Austin and his family more than for you to trust your life to Christ.

Austin is committed to living his life well, no matter how many more months or years that may be. His strength is in the Lord, not in a medicine that the doctors say can prolong his life. The next time you see Austin give him a fist bump and take some time to pull up beside him and live a little bit of your life with him.

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