Wednesday, November 2, 2011


I spent the better part of Monday having a mammogram. Good fun. First, I ended up in the wrong office and had to ask a middle-aged man where the Breast Center was. He told me, then put his hand on my arm and said, "And hey--good luck up there!" Great...thanks.

I got up there and put my clothes in a locker, and waited. At one point I looked over at the sea of lockers and realized I hadn't paid attention to which number was on the locker I'd used. I imagined never finding my clothes and having to make a break for it, leaving the hospital in the burgundy, questionable-coverage "wrap" they gave me to wear.

Finally I had the procedure, then waited. I'd already been told it wasn't likely that I would need an ultrasound, so I was expecting to be in and out fairly quickly. But it wasn't going to go that way.

"Mrs. Nelson, we found something on your mammogram and we'll need to do an ultrasound to further investigate."

I waited in a room for over an hour with only my thoughts to occupy me. I began to think of the reasons I didn't want bad news. And my mind went to a passage I read a few months back in Francis Chan's book
Forgotten God. In the excerpt he tells of a time he was called to a home to pray for a man dying of cancer. The elders gathered around him to anoint him with oil and pray for his healing. But before they prayed, Chan asked the sick man something he says he doesn't usually ask:

"Why do you want to be healed? Why do you want to stay on this earth?"

An unusual question, perhaps. But a fair one.

Why do we care to live? Why do we fear getting bad news? If we are told our time will be short, what lost opportunity might we grieve? And if we're told all is well, how will we be good stewards of the blessed gift called "more time"?

Is it because we are hungry to continue bringing glory to God? To continue to do what He called us to do? Or is it so we can spend our days on our own pursuits and passions, as is mentioned in James 4:3?

As I waited, I was overwhelmed with peace. I wasn't afraid of bad news, even though they'd found something iffy. I honestly wasn't even afraid of dying, if that was part of it. But as I sat in that room, I just asked God that if something was wrong, to please strengthen my husband and children to continue to walk in truth, and let their lives be about declaring His name and renown. That's honestly all that truly mattered to me in those moments. I was consumed with the desire for His will to be done in my family, with or without me.

The ultrasound revealed everything to be fine, and I breathed a sigh of relief. I am truly grateful. But now that I know it is, how will I live? Spending this gift called life on myself, my comforts, my own desires, making a way for myself?

My life verses are from Isaiah 61, and verse 3 says that the LORD planted me and established me TO DISPLAY HIS SPLENDOR. That is why I'm here--TO DISPLAY HIS SPLENDOR. So if that means I have 3 more years or 30 more years, in the days that God gave me to live I am here TO DISPLAY HIS SPLENDOR.

I'm going to fail. And at times I'm going to mistakenly think something about my life from the cradle to the grave is somehow about me. But at the heart of it, I want to bring God glory. Why do I want to live? To do just that. And at the end of the time here, it'll be just the beginning of living in the presence of His glory.

* Why do you want to live?

For me, to live is Christ
and to die is gain.

Philippians 1:21

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