Monthly Archives: December 2011

Tebowing While Chemoing

In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18

The diverse worlds of pro football, religion and cancer treatment have come together in a compelling story that might encourage you. A quarterback named Tim Tebow, who is considered by some to be an overachiever at the professional level, has stunned the football universe by piling up a string of last minute wins, leaving many to wonder if he is “God’s quarterback.” Tebow has been outspoken about his faith in Christ, and during games he often drops to one knee to offer up a prayer of thanks, even while his teammates are jumping and celebrating around him.

This kneel and pray gesture has been given a name – “Tebowing.” Tebow has approved what might be the official definition of Tebowing: “To get down on a knee and start praying, even if everyone else around you is doing something completely different.” A viral movement to capture photos of people “Tebowing” in various locations has now been launched. Of course it may be easier to give thanks when things are going your way.

Enter 12-year-old Joey Norris, a cancer survivor currently undergoing treatment. He posted a picture of himself in the kneeling position while hooked up to his chemo machine. He called it “Tebowing while chemoing.” You have to love Joey’s fight… and faith.

Several times during my battle with Stage IV melanoma, I felt the sting and blessing of praying alone. Oh there were many caring friends and family surrounding me. Yet they too were crashing against the maddening ceiling of man’s limitations. I also felt the odd benefit of crying out to God, who is often the last resort. At times too weak to kneel, my silent prayers crossed paths with His touch. I was lifted up by an invisible hand.

He shows up for those who cry out to Him. He doesn’t guarantee that we’ll win every game, but He lets us know He is watching. He is truly engaged, and is surely rooting for us. He gives us the poise, grace and peace to endure adversity. Little Joey Norris reminds us that we are all famous to God.

Lord, bless all of Your followers everywhere, in every situation; and bless our fellow warriors in their fight against cancer.


Coping with Insensitivity

It’s just a fact of life – people say careless things. From infancy people have been saying careless things to you. One of your parents probably serenaded you with the lullaby, “Rock-a-Bye Baby.” Have you ever considered the lyrics of that song? It’s about placing a baby in a cradle at the top of a tree. The wind rocks the cradle causing the tree limb to break. The baby in this sweet song is not rescued, however, but falls unceremoniously to the ground! Sweet dreams, little one. It’s a good thing babies can’t understand us!

Some of you are right in the middle of a cancer battle. You’re expecting understanding and sympathy, but well-meaning people keep saying careless things. Please understand – this is common – you are not being singled out for this torture! So today I offer a few thoughts on coping with the insensitivity of others.

1) Focus on people’s intentions, not their words.
People generally mean well. They might want you to laugh when you really need to cry, but they’re sincerely meaning to take away your pain. Can you cut them some slack and realize they just hate to see you hurting?

2) Remember your own insensitivities.
I’ve been guilty of every misguided attempt to encourage the hurting, including being overly positive, bad timing, being trite, and the old fallback, “I don’t know what to say so I won’t say anything.” It’s inconsistent for me to be too hard on others when I’ve made the exact same blunders!

3) Focus on the Lord not people.
Psalm 62:2 says, “He only is my rock.” Some people may never, ever let you down, but they represent an exception and are certainly not the rule. Only God is totally dependable. We may feel like He has left or forsaken us, but He never, ever does (Hebrews 13:5).

Lord, grant us the grace to extend grace to others when they don’t understand what we are going through.