Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Faith, Hope & Rejoicing in our Afflictions

So before we even get started, I want to start off by saying that although I truly hope that you are blessed by this story, I confess that I am writing this for me. It's about me praising God for all that He has done and continues to do in and through my life and the lives of those I love. About how incredibly blessed I am to be able to do what I do and by the people that He puts in my path.

I have loved the game of baseball from the time that I was a 7 year old boy. I dreamed, as many boys do, of someday playing professional baseball...maybe even for my home town team...The Chicago Cubs. Well, as I got older and realized that the "talent"?..that God gave me to play baseball didn't actually stand up so well against most of the other guys on my high school team, my dream of playing pro-ball died quicker than the vines on the outfield wall at Wrigly field in October. Never in my wildest imagination did I ever think that 40 years later I would be involved with the game as I am now. That God actually instilled the love of the game in me for a purpose much higher than for my own personal enjoyment. But...that's how God does things. He places things, situations, circumstances and people in our lives that we often overlook and take for granted...not really thinking about the purpose or what effect it may have on our lives months or years down the road.

I have been abundantly blessed over the past week as God has once again used the game of baseball to bring His people together and for His glory by placing a 13 year old boy (yes, a baseball player) and his family in my path. The boys name is LS Goe..LS is short for Lee Samuel, named after his dad. LS has only been playing baseball for a short period of time, but he loves the game. Baseball just recently became a part of his life because he lost the passion that he once had for Motorcross racing, somthing that he has done since he was a little boy. Maybe the many different injuries and broken bones had somthing to do with him dropping motorcross for baseball, however the point is that it is baseball that God used to have our paths cross.

I was introduced to LS and his parents Stacey & Lee by my friend and fellow FCA Baseball ministry associate Matt Pritchett. In addition to being on staff with FCA Baseball, Matt is a professional hitting instructor and has been giving hitting instruction to LS now for a few months. In an attempt to keep a potentially very long story as short as possible, I will get right to the facts. LS woke up on Monday morning Nov 30th complaining of a toothache and was taken to the dentist by his mother Stacey. Stacey and LS were first put on alarm when they were informed by the dentist that he "didn't like some of the things he saw" and that Stacey should take LS to Scottish Rite Hospital for some evaluations. Once at Scottish Rite, the tests were done and the results came back. LS had leukemia. BAM! In the blink of an eye, everything changed.

Life changed a little bit for LS on Monday November 30th, however his journey really started back on September 13th when he experienced a much more radical change in his life. On that day, LS met Jesus at the Forsyth Family Funfest in Cumming, GA. Yep, you read that correctly....while attending this event that featured different praise and worship bands and speakers, LS responded to the Gospel presentation by Will Graham that evening by accepting Christ into his heart as his Lord and Savior. I believe that God started preparing LS for what was to come on that very day. Shortly after giving his life to Christ, LS became involved with the FCA huddle at Liberty Middle School in Cumming and has been reading his Bible.
Over the past few days, I have been able to spend some time with LS and his parents, who are also followers of Christ. And it is by watching how Lee, Stacy & LS have dealt with the circumstances that they now find themselves in that I have been so blessed. A diagnosis of leukemia in a young boy causes our lives to start spinning out of control and we feel helpless. But the upside is that it also causes us to seek God with an intensity that cannot be manufactured in any other way. It has a way of driving us to our knees. And that is why the bad things that happen to us can turn into the BEST things that happen to us. We can't control what happens to us, but we can control our response. The response from the Goe family has been one of complete trust in Him who can do more than we can ever imagine. It has been a testimony of complete faith in Christ...the kind of faith that we all long for. The kind of faith that gives us peace that surpasses all understanding.

Since LS's diagnosis, there has been a tremendous outpouring of prayer. There have been countless testimonies by people who either know LS or know of him who have been drawn closer to the Lord through this trial. Close to 1600 people have responded on his facebook page. Read some of the posts here and see how God is using LS to impact the lives of many....and LS knows it! And that gives him peace! How will this story end? Only God knows, however in my heart, I believe that God plans to use LS in a mighty way and that this is only the beginning. Romans 5:3 says "There's more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we are hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next" (msg).

LS was released from the hospital today after being there for 10 days. He has received chemotherapy daily for over a week now and his treatment will continue for the next couple years. His prognosis is encouraging...the doctors anticipate a complete 100% remission. All the Glory to God. I urge you to lift up LS and his family whenever you think of them.

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