"After conversion we need bruising so that reeds may know themselves to be reeds, and not oaks. Even reeds need bruising, by reason of the remainder of pride in our nature, and to let us see that we live by mercy. Such bruising may help weaker Christians not to be too much discouraged, when they see stronger ones shaken and bruised. Thus Peter was bruised when he wept bitterly (Matt. 26:75). This reed, till he met with this bruise, had more wind in him than pith when he said, `Though all forsake thee, I will not' (Matt. 26:33). The people of God cannot be without these examples. The heroic deeds of those great worthies do not comfort the church so much as their falls and bruises do." Richard Sibbes, "The Bruised Reed"
Last November I introduced Matt Chandler on this blog as perhaps a counterexample to the typical megachurch pastor - I was very intrigued by his sermon style and his Calvinist views as I heard bits and pieces of him during 2009. Then when I heard his 11/12/09 SBTS sermon, it blew me away. I gave a few quotes from his now infamous SBTS sermon, and have mentioned him in several posts.
Matt suffered a seizure on Thanksgiving Day, and a brain tumor was found. Surgery was quickly scheduled, and most of the tumor, which was found to be cancerous was removed in December.
Matt is now in the middle of a very intense six-week chemo/radiation treatment, after which another MRI will be taken, and then more chemo and radiation.
A few comments about Matt's journey thus far:
- I think it is wonderful that Matt is willing to share his journey publicly as much as he is able, through social media sites like blogs and Twitter. I wouldn't expect anyone to do this in such a public way, but Matt has said in his preaching that enduring this trial publicly and not privately was a matter of great prayer and dialogue with his family. This has allowed his church and Christians everywhere to be more direct and specific in their prayers for Matt. It is a very good thing for Christian to watch this high-profile preacher endure this struggle with faith and strength from the Lord. No doubt Matt's willingness to share and document his journey publicly will teach Christians for many years about how to handle the coming catastrophies in our own lives. Matt reads the quote from Richard Sibbes in the video blog that beatifully describes this.
- Matt has preached several times thus far in 2010, his sermons are available at the Village Church website. John Piper preached an incredible sermon on December 27, 2009 at the Village Church that beautifully put Matt's cancer and the suffering of the entire world through senseless tragedies like tsunamis and earthquakes into perspective. If you want to hear probably the best sermon you'll hear on suffering, made especially relevant since the Haiti earthquake, listen to Piper's sermon.
- Matt has talked and blogged and twittered about how the Lord has used his illness in various ways. As an example of this, here is a quote from Matt on 1/3/10. [Just some context: apparently at the same time the tumor was found the Village Church was opening a new campus]:
"I think one of the things that I have found through all of this, my heart being really grateful for, is that this happened when it happened. And what I mean by that is leaving the Highland Village campus, coming into this campus, going live stream, all these big markers in our church's life - and the Lord decided to do this at a time to show us all that this is His church, not my church, this is what He's doing, not what I'm doing, and that I am a piece of the puzzle just like everybody else here. And to remove me from that as all of that was going on and to let it be as seamless and as beautiful as its been, was just such a gift from God to us, to show that His power and might is not wrapped up in me, His power and His might is wrapped up in Him and He's going to accomplish His will. And that was a gift He gave us. That was a gift He gave us. It has brought me an immense amount of joy to think on that, to dwell on that, and to revel in the fact that God chose to do it like He chose to do it. "
I will continue to follow Matt's journey. In the video blog post above, Matt said that the next three weeks may be the most intense period of his chemo/radiation as the accumulative effect of the treatments start to affect his body more severely.
Keep Matt and his family in your prayers.