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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Encouragement (among believers) (11/08/07)

TITLE: A Cold Wind And The Jacket
By thomas eickhoff


An open letter - to two great friends,

Woke up this morning – clock said 4 A.M. Found myself thinking of the words you wrote yesterday:

"...The tests confirmed cancer, but it is early and not considered life threatening."

"...Interestingly, gratitude has been growing in me since the possibility of cancer arose. I am thankful for years of health and much more. Perhaps it is a cold wind that makes you appreciate your down jacket."

I think of the cold wind. I know it. I have felt it.

My mind goes to a jacket, a book jacket - the one I read as I was leaving the Mayo Clinic alone that day having just been told I had Parkinson’s and would probably “die sooner than normal”. My heart was racing as my mind was trying to reprocess all of life. Before stepping out into the January cold, something caused me to look down at the book I clasped. There were the words: “Future Grace”. I had to smile. God knew the jacket I needed for the cold wind I did not have a clue was coming. I even smiled as I realized, after getting to my car, that it was not going to start. Such was the day.

Such was my initiation into future grace. I was awash in it.

Thinking of these things, I now know sleep is over. I decide to just get up and write you. Computer clock says 3 A.M. Hmmm… earlier than I thought. I need to change my bedroom clock …sometime.

I think of an article I read yesterday. It was about a writer. When asked how one determines what to write about, she replied, simply: Write what you know.

So, here’s what I know:

Nothing’s changed. Cancer cannot shorten life. Your life’s length is the same as it was before the diagnosis. You simply are more aware of that which God has known from your birth: when you will die - the length of our days.

Everything’s changed. You now have a greater awareness that your days really are numbered. So, number them. Be wise. Let life be more precious. Waste less.

Don’t hurt alone. Share your story. To be the body of Christ to each other requires knowing when a member is hurting. Let the body be the body.

Bother God. Pray and seek the prayers of others. Be as one who knocks on God’s door repeatedly. Ask friends and family to do the same. God enjoys opening doors. Make sure you thank him.

Let God bless. Let him bless you. Let him bless others through you in this. And let him decide how and when and where, etc. Let him be the blessings coordinator. And bless him back.

Know it is good. Know that God works all things for good. If God works the cancer for good, is it not good? You can know goodness without knowing why.

Know it is his good pleasure. How can cancer be his good pleasure? He knows. And he can be trusted. I have yet to see him be anything other than who he claims to be. Sometimes you simply need to go with him.

See death. Some would say “Be positive.” I say “Get real. You’re going to die. Get over it. Death is as much a part of life as is life. Figure it out. How do you want to die? Is there life after? Get death together.”

To die is gain. To live is Christ. Live Christ. Embrace death. (What could be more positive?)

Know God. Seek to know him more each day. Take one more step up the mountain towards the peak. Be awed.

Know his sovereignty. Know who is God. Know he gives and takes away. Trust his love in the bitterest of pain. Blessed be the Lord.

Put on the jacket. Put on Christ. And let his cold wind blow.

Enjoy the grace.

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This article has been read 430 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 11/15/07
This is some GREAT writing. It's the total package, voice, style, message, word choice, the real deal. Superb title and extended metaphor.
Seema Bagai 11/17/07
This piece is filled with wonderfully written words of encouragement.
David F. Palmieri Sr.11/17/07
"Nothing’s changed. Cancer cannot shorten life. Your life’s length is the same as it was before the diagnosis."
Profound, beautiful, true statement...food for much thought...thank you...
Deborah Engle 11/18/07
Wonderful writing. I love this head on approach to a challenge. You presented it with just enough softness to make it easy to accept, making it potentially very effective.
Joy Mounce11/21/07
Very, Very Good!
Thank you for writing!
Patricia Todd11/22/07
Congratulations! This is well written and very readable.