In a few short weeks, it will have been a year since the biopsy that led to the words “Thyroid Cancer” entering the story of my life. In the whole scheme of things, becoming cancer-free was a pretty short process.
But remnants remain.
The scar. The low calcium levels that make my fingers and toes numb at times. The extra weight that won’t seem to go away. And, at times, the fear that something else could go wrong at any time.
I guess it’s not such a bad thing, to have those reminders. They help me keep things in perspective – help me to not take things for granted as easily as I once did.
I had a conversation with a dear friend the other day who thankfully has not had to deal with cancer – but unfortunately has had to deal with the pain that all too often comes with being in ministry. It’s been months – but the remnants remain.
The pain they have experienced is far worse in so many ways than my cancer diagnosis. When the church hurts you, the wounds don’t heal as quickly as a surgical procedure.
It’s not supposed to be that way.
When I read about the early church, they had their differences of opinions. Theydisagreed. They argued. They didn’t know exactly how to live with each other at times. They were imperfect.
But they took care of each other.
There is so much press about the abuse of power within certain churches by its leadership. And yet, no one calls into account the abuse that pastors and their families have endured for years. No one reports the times when people who make up local congregations gang up on their pastor. No one reports on the hundreds of gifted, caring, passionate leaders who step out of the ministry because of the stuff they have had to go through.
It’s shameful. And those of us who are part of the church shouldn’t put up with it.
I am learning (the hard way) that people can be really mean. And I’m talking about “Christians”. They can be among the most hateful, vindictive, horrible people on the planet. People who think it’s their job to put someone in their place or express their opinions as if they are speaking the only truth. It’s maddening.
But, I know they are not the majority. I know that most of the people I encounter who are Christ-followers are the kind of people who don’t make church about themselves. They don’t make Christianity about their agenda. They just want to love God and love others.
And those are the people who show me visible reminders that God is still truly at work in this world.
Those are the people who I want my non-believing friends to meet.
Those are the people who challenge me to be.
I’m grateful for that kind of remnant. And pray that I can be the same.