As the “I Am Yours” sermon series comes to an end, the themes covered throughout the series have prompted me to write this blog. The “use me, break me, search me and send me” words have taken on a significant meaning to me as you will see.
A year ago this week, I was receiving my first chemo treatment at the Highlands Oncology facility here in Fayetteville. Up to this point in my life, having the flu a few times was the worst level of illness I had experienced. I had never experienced: broken bones, the need for ongoing prescriptions, overnight hospital stays, but rather just trips to the doctor for annual physicals. The first theme, “use me” was instilled in me and my siblings from our parents. Early church roles included acolyte, lay reader, and chalice bearer. Adult roles included junior warden, senior warden, young married weekend co-leader, youth co-leader, Promise Keeper Ambassador, Bible Study Leadership (BSF) roles for 15 years, small group co-leader for 10 years, young-married couples class co-leader, non-profit Board member, church council member and service on many church committees. As you can see, I have taken the “use me” literally over the past 50 past years.
The “break me” theme was a foreign concept other than when I gave my life over to Christ in 1994. As I mentioned above, my life until late May, 2016 was a picture of completeness and an ongoing love for the Lord. Over the past twelve months, I have had twelve Chemo sessions, a stem-cell transplant, a one week stay in the Nebraska Medical hospital in Omaha with two infections causing a lasting fever and internal bleeding and enough pill bottles to fill a medicine cabinet. We left the hospital in mid-November and on our way home from Omaha, we found out that our home was uninhabitable due to a serious case of mold. We weren’t able to move back into our house until early March, 2017 and paid out over $30,000 for the mold removal, which is not an item covered by insurance. As if this were not enough, there were other challenging issues that I can’t mention. When you add it all this together, I felt like I could author a modern-day version of the Book of Job.
What I have realized through these ordeals is that God uses a fallen world to “search” out how His people respond to calamities. I believe that God has been searching me just as He has with so many in the Bible and with us. This past year has been a humbling experience for me. I couldn’t have made it through without all the prayers, meals, and loving support from family, friends, so many at Central and the Wesley Foundation, many in other churches in Fayetteville and around Arkansas and medical personnel. I was even fortunate enough to have the sweet cleaning lady sing old Christian hymns to me daily in my Nebraska Medical hospital room.
As Pastor Carl Palmer mentioned in his sermon on May 21, the last theme of “send me” is a very challenging and “all in” commitment to God. Carl explained the true meaning of “send me” is to do what God calls you to do with no reservations or exceptions. After the service was over, my wife and I learned from a church member that we sit near that she is leaving for a distant foreign country next month for a minimum of one year to be an English teacher and will be able to teach Christian themes in the classroom. She was expressing her joy to answer God’s calling and the sorrow of leaving her grown daughter. God provided her a current and personal example of what it means to say “send me” and be obedient to that call. I am praying for God to reveal His “Send Me” desire for my remaining years of life.
I’m praying, and hope you will join me in continuing to pray the Wesleyan Covenant Prayer and asking the Lord Jesus to continue to Use Me, Break Me, Search Me and Send Me. I am not my own, I am yours.
Church Council Chair