A few days ago I listened to Driscoll’s sermon on Suffering to Serve. The content was something that I had heard a few times before, but had limited experience with. Here, Driscoll exhorted that while suffering for Christ we must always be looking to serve others.
Dan Hatch and his wife Carol have been serving God for quite some time now. Dan serves as and Elder at our Church and as the Maine State Coordinator for Straight Ahead Ministries.
True, if you were to meet him you wouldn’t think that he has it rough, but he has thyroid cancer. This week I had the opportunity to sit and talk with him and the interns that I oversee. I have known him and his wife for a while and grown to love them both. He told us of three rather large tumors that have been removed from his neck and how he almost died during surgery for one of them. He also told us of the Chemo that took away half of his salivary glands and (possibly permanently) altered his voice.
As I said, you would be shocked to know this if you had met Dan first. The general assumption of many with cancer (especially those who have this type- one that has a 30-50% survival rate) is that they no longer see life worth living.
That’s not Dan.
When I talk to Dan, Psalm 100 resonates within me:
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and enter his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.
If I could define Dan and Carol with any chapter of the Bible, it would be this one. Dan doesn’t have any of the fears that one would think he should have. He is concerned about more eternal things. For instance, years ago Carol suffered a stroke leaving her disabled. Dan cares for his bride still to this day. I was nearly brought to tears time and again while he was talking about how he is making arrangements for his son to take care of her if God takes him. He is at so much peace about dying that he is not even worried about himself- he is looking out for Carol.
Another case would be a non-Christian friend of his who has always been kind to him and consistently asked about his cancer. Well it turns out that this man has been diagnosed with cancer in his esophagus. Dan is now ministering to his friend- and can do so more effectively because of his illness.
Suffering in Service
That was the point of Driscoll’s sermon.
If you are suffering- remember Christ and his ministry in suffering. He never leaves or forsakes us. Christ has given us everything that we need for life. He gives those with cancer- cancer that they might minister to people with cancer… and so on. It is one of our purposes as believers to comfort those who are suffering. And if we are suffering, we must serve willingly and joyful as Christ did, and as Dan does.