James has it WRONG!

James 1:2 has it seriously wrong…

when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.

Troubles are an opportunity for great joy!! I’ll give you troubles! My child has cancer, where is the joy in that?
– Watching her much loved hair fall out…. Joy! Err no.
– Catching vomit… No joy there
– Preparing her for yet another procedure… what can bribe, err reward her with? Joy? no.
– Dealing with the constipation/diarrhea pendulum… Umm maybe the joy of hidden in one of her nappies.
– Sleepless nights.. Joy joy joy

Let me read on (in James 1:3-4), maybe James was joking… They do that in the bible!…

For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

Yay! Nothing like having my endurance tested. Being a father of three kids is great and it already feels like an endurance marathon (not that I’ve ever done one of those). But let my faith be tested so my endurance can grow! I guess I can look forward to being perfect and complete, needing nothing at the end of this.

OK, maybe James’ letter want meant for me… Let me look up other verses… My middle name is Peter, he must be a nice bloke, lets look what he’s got to say in 1 Peter 1:6‭-‬7

So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.

Nope, looks like Peter and James colluded to write the same thing. So, “trials will show my faith is genuine”, is there an easier way? At least if my faith remains strong through trials, it will bring me much praise and glory and honor. Maybe i should keep reading 1 Peter 4:12‭-‬13

Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.

Umm, nope.. surely Peter had something else, here we go 1 Peter 5:10

In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.

OK, time to dig some more.. Paul wrote a fair bit of the NT, surely he’s written something to the Romans, here we go 5:3‭-‬4

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.

RIGHT!!! I give up. You win Bible! I get it, I need to have problems and trials, I’ll be better for it. I know you’re right, I guess I was in denial.

As you may of guessed, I’ve gone on a bit of a journey with these verses over the last year. Initially they were hard to chew on, but now I truly love them. My favourite is James, which I put up in the bathroom cabinet a few months back so I see it every time I brush my teeth.

Life can be hard. I don’t know for sure if praise and glory and honor awaits, or if I’ll ever be perfect, complete and needing nothing. I do know when I let God carry my burden, things are easier. So this is where faith kicks in, although I don’t know this with happen, I feel, trust and hope it does.

There are MANY other verses I’ve had revelation with over the last year, if I get a chance I’ll share them too.

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The most important personal trait

A trait that I highly rate is humility.

We live in a “look at me” and “look at what I have” society where I think humility is lost.

My take on the word is, someone who is humble, no matter what status you have, or where you are, you have time to listen stand up for and help others. The dictionary has a slightly different take on it..
humility

So, here’s the people who I respect for their humility…

Some guys I’ve spent many a night around a table or fire with, we’ve had lots of conversations, some deep, some not as much. You do amazing stuff, you’re not after an accolade, just to help out. Jon, Aaron, Rod, Phil, you guys are an inspiration. Ron, you’re new to this group, but WOW, your heart for the underprivileged and downtrodden is amazing.

My grandfather Cyril, is a man of not many words, but what he goes without to help his family is phenomenal. Words can’t express my respect for granddad. I know he passed this trait onto mum, who would never say she’s special; but she is!

‘It was no trouble at all’ is a common response from someone who has surprised us with a care package or meal many times. It’s also very rare to see her not talking to and helping another family at school, looking for nothing in return. Gretel, you are amazing!

I guy I met at work over 15 years ago, sky rocketed into management echelon in the US. A few months back, he was visiting the office, he took the time to come and have a chat about Violet; he was in awe of me! Really! Wow. He values what is important. Thank you Brad.

Have you ever listened to the words of True Blue? …“Is it standin’ by your mate when he’s in a fight” .. John Williamson is incredible, the number of causes he supports is phenomenal… he reminds me of my Dad, who can’t say no to getting involved and helping in the community. Dad you’re amazing.

Tor, you’re one amazing guy and your family is phenomenal! You’ve gone through so much and were in the middle of a storm, yet you called and offered help, you and Trudy visited and entertained us at your house. Wow. And I know where you get it from, Aunty Vic, there is no keeping you away, your visits and hugs meant a lot, to fit that in-between your how many grandkids, charitable endeavours, and other patients you visited, thank you!

A lot of the field engineers I work with truly underplay their skills.. I understand why. And a lot of the time you’re the smartest people in the room, but oh so very humble when you deliver a tough message.

There are others, I’ve probably forgotten for now, but I’ll try to update this as time goes on.

So, THANK YOU to the people in my life who I respect for their humility. Cheers!

I don’t know what to say

A couple of colleagues pulled me aside at different times over the last few weeks and said something similar to “I really feel for you, I’m sorry I haven’t said anything until now, but I didn’t know what to say”.

To tell you the truth, it wasn’t until recently that I thought about the way I would have reacted if the roles were reversed before Violet got cancer, and it would have been very similar.

I know I wouldn’t have known what to say.
I know I would have stared at a child with a bald head or tubes out their nose.
I guess I would have been in shock. Emotional overload, brain short circuit.

I’m sorry to those that I may have done this to in the past. Some things have no rule books and are just plain difficult to deal with.

So, if you feel you don’t know what to say.. here’s some things I think I’d now say:

  • I don’t know what to say, but I really feel for you.
  • I’m here for you if you need me
  • I’d like to do something for you, what would help (side note: different people have different needs)
  • Smile and wave to a kid with a bald head, they’re pretty much a normal, just look a bit different

Depending on what people are going through, there might not be the right thing to say… the things above might even offend… it’s tough!

In the early days there were things that people said that did rub me the wrong way, below I’ve got went through my head at the time:

  • What are her chances?
    • Really? I’m just coming to terms that my daughter has cancer, no I don’t want to be reminded all the time of her survival rate, I’d like to enjoy her for now.
  • My [insert relative/friend] has cancer, it’s been a really tough few years.
    • What? this will take years.
    • Really? can we just focus on my daughter for a moment before I hear your story.
    • Do you realise that every cancer is different and for a kid to get cancer is much rarer than your 80 year old aunt?
  • How are you really doing?
    • Ummm.. I don’t really know you .. “I’m ok/good” .. but to tell you you the truth I’m so emotionally tired that I don’t really know how I’m doing, and quite frankly aren’t ready to find out.
  • I know someone who’s child died of cancer, would you like me to introduce you?
    • Sorry for being selfish, but right now I don’t care. My daughter is still alive, can I just celebrate that fact and enjoy her before being faced with the reality of what others have faced.
    • Wow, this is real. My daughter could die…. Thanks for throwing that in my face – NOT!
    • It’s only been in recent months I’ve thought of all the kids who’ve come before Violet, who have trialed drugs and passed. I really feel for those parents, but in the early days, it was all about survival.

I forgive all of you for what you say, how were you to know what you said offended. Hopefully I was polite in my response.

 

Now people could say anything to me and I’m ok with it. I’m happy to talk in depth on pretty much any of Violets treatment (or future plans), that’s if I’ve got the time.

A couple of articles that friends have shared in recent months that I felt are too good not to share on this topic are:
Stop Saying “Everything Happens for a Reason”
And, a three part series on Stupid Phrases For People In Crisis. Part 1Part 2: Giving Grace To People In CrisisPart 3: A Final Note For Those In Crisis
I don’t necessarily agree with all, but they’re a pretty good read.