Monday, November 1, 2010

Soli Deo Gloria To The End ~ Christian Schmidt

This entire post is Christian Schmidt's most recent post.  I've already linked to him twice, but I guess I'm afraid y'all won't follow the links & you really need to see this.  I am completely floored by this young man; his faith is so strong, & he is using his last efforts to point to & glorify Christ.  Please, please take the time to read this.

"Colossians 1:28-29, “28) Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29) For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.”

My parents and doctors have said that our main two concerns are: 1) no pain and 2) the ability to breathe. Notice that this is all with the conclusion that I will die. The cancer has become very progressed, and I feel that my time is almost done. The doctors are beginning to say that I might not make it to the beginning of the next year. I’ve come to accept this, but some of the doctors are beginning to say that I should just give up. I’m currently doing three weeks of radiation, and some say that I should just go home, get hospice, and slowly die. Did the apostle Paul run away after he had been beaten, persecuted, and shipwrecked? Did Jeremiah give up because of the constant turmoil on his life? The answer to those questions is no. There will come a point where my body will eventually fail me, but I will fight to my death to proclaim the gospel.

In Philippians 1:19-26, Paul discusses the benefits of living and dieing. It can be summed up in verse 21 when he says, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” The first part means that we live for Christ and spread the gospel. He later discusses how living will give him more time to preach the gospel and teach and encourage those who are already walking in the light, which is why he pushes on to live so that he can preach and teach. He also discusses the great benefits of dieing right now, and the great joy he will have when he goes to heaven. Living or dieing are ultimately in the hands of the Lord, which Paul understands, but this doesn’t stop him from fighting to leave to do as many good things before he leaves his despite his great desire to go home.

John Piper gave a great sermon entitled, “What Happens When You Die? At Home With The Lord,” based on 2 Corinthians 14:16-5:10, and given on July 18, 1983. Piper pointed out the order of Paul’s desires (1 being the highest desire and 3 the lowest): 1) The Lord would return and that he would instantaneously be fully clothed and be with the Lord. 2) He would physically die and return to the Lord without his completely glorified body. 3) He would remain on this earth. We just saw in Philippians of how Paul’s desire was to depart, but it seemed to be God’s will for him to stay. He obeyed this call just as he submits to God’s will in 2 Corinthians passage, but they are different because in the Philippians passages he is only speaking of himself, while 2 Corinthians is encouraging all people to live this.

At this point, I am ready for death. I’m actually afraid of getting healed because then all my hopes for heaven will have to wait several years. My body is in constant pain, which isn’t completely true because they have given me some pretty strong meds and I almost have no pain when I have a comfortable position, I can hardly breath, and these are just a few of my symptoms. It’s hard, sometimes nearly impossible, for me to get up, walk, and lay down. I can do almost nothing on my own, but my loving parents are there for me whenever I need something. I am almost eager to die because most mornings I seem to say, “I can’t do this anymore,” but God is there to lift me up and help me with all of my struggles because of his mercies are new everyday and He is our portion (Lamentations 3:23-24). I am now living the idea of “Live Weak” to the fullest expression (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). The more my weaknesses are displayed the more God is glorified.

The verse at the top has been really important these last few days. Verse 28 speaks of doing everything possible to present everyone mature in Christ. The next verse speaks of toiling to do this. Toiling is not just helping people here and there but using everything that God has given you to complete this task. For me, since I will be unable to do almost all physical activity, I will toil by writing, speaking, when I can, witness to everyone, which I don’t see too many people, but that could make it easier to focus on some more than others, and finally offering any kind of counseling and encouragement to whoever needs it. I may not always have the strength to do these things, but that didn’t stop many of the early missionaries that would grow sick on the mission field and lose their children and wives. They persisted on because it was not their strength, but God’s strength with them. Some may say that I don’t need to push myself too hard, but this is looking at my strength rather than seeing it as God who strengthens me, “with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.” Besides, if I push myself too hard, then I will get to go to heaven sooner. It is a win-win situation regardless of how you look at it. Praise be to His holy, righteous name. I rejoice that I have been chosen to suffer to for the glory of God."