Matt Chandler is the pastor of The Village Church of Flower Mound, Texas… a Southern Baptist Congregation. Each week he delivers God’s Word to 6,000 people. He is 35 years old… has three children… and has been considered one of the up and coming stars in the Christian faith. Then on Thanksgiving day of 2009, he had a seizure after feeding his infant daughter. He woke up in the hospital and tests revealed he had cancer in his brain. A very serious form that can be fatal. Click here to read the article from MSNBC (Not a particularly Christian platform!).
But what is worth considering is how he is teaching the world, and especially God’s people, how to suffer for God’s glory! Consider a few quotes from the MSNBC article…
Chandler is trying to suffer well. He would never ask for such a trial, but in some ways he welcomes this cancer. He says he feels grateful that God has counted him worthy to endure it. He has always preached that God will bring both joy and suffering but is only recently learning to experience the latter.
Since all this began on Thanksgiving morning, Chandler says he has asked “why me?” just once, in a moment of weakness.
He is praying that God will heal him. He wants to grow old, to walk his two daughters down the aisle and see his son become a better athlete than he ever was. Whatever happens, he says, is God’s will, and God has his reasons. For Chandler, that does not mean waiting for his fate. It means fighting for his life.
Chandler’s long, meaty messages untangle large chunks of Scripture, a stark contrast to the “Eight Ways to Overcome Fear” sermons common to evangelical megachurches that took off in the 1980s. His approach appeals, he believes, to a generation looking for transcendence and power.
His theology teaches that all men are wicked, that human beings have offended a loving and sovereign God, and that God saves through Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection — not because people do good deeds.
Chandler’s cancer is a “3” on a 1 to 4 scale with 4 being the worst…
Chandler says learning he had brain cancer was “kind of like getting punched in the gut. You take the shot, you try not to vomit, then you get back to doing what you do, believing what you believe.
“We never felt — still have not felt — betrayed by the Lord or abandoned by the Lord. I can honestly say, we haven’t asked the question, ‘Why?’ or wondered, ‘Why me, why not somebody else?’ We just haven’t gotten to that place. I’m not saying we won’t get there. I’m just saying it hasn’t happened yet.”
At church, he has deflected sympathy with reassurances that this is a good thing, that he is not shrinking back. Chandler has preached the last two weekends and is planning trips to South Africa and England. He recently lost his hair to radiation but got a positive lab report last week and feels strong.
Chandler would rather this not have happened. But he is drinking life in — watching his son build sandcastles at the park, preaching each sermon as if eternity is at stake — and feeling a heightened sense of reality.
“It’s carpe diem on steroids,” he says.
Read the article (Link in first paragraph)… pray for Chandler… and prepare for the day when you may be called on to glorify God in suffering.