Inbox

If you read Back 9 at all you know I am a huge fan of social media…even though it has been hard to be on it lately…the fighting and hating…triple yuk!

But we don’t have to “own it” and for that I am grateful. What I mean by “not owning” is we don’t have to let it bother us or wreck our day. That is our choice. I usually just put my hand on the computer when I see it and pray for that person and move on. I haven’t ever seen anyone win an argument.

But the point of my post is about the “inbox” I received two weeks ago. It was from a Facebook friend asking for any help or advice for a friend of theirs who was undergoing treatment for the same kind of staph infection Thomas contracted in February of this year.

I “inboxed” her back and gave her the advice that I thought would be most helpful. I didn’t think much of it. I just prayed for Chandler, a stranger to me. Then the second inbox came about four days later which informed me that Chandler was being airlifted to MUSC. I also learned he was the exact age as Thomas, 24, a graduate of Clemson and a newlywed.

At this point I became extremely concerned. My heart was shaken…to relate and remember our own experience and how similar. Oddly, but a God moment for sure, I was reading the second inbox while I was sitting at my hairdresser/close friend getting my hair colored. She asked me what was wrong because she could see my face change as I read my phone. I mentioned what was going on and how my heart was aching.

God for sure orchestrated things as I shared what was going on. Paige said, ”Oh my goodness, Chandler’s dad, Mark, sells hair color to me!!” She then elaborated on Chandler’s condition. We talked the whole time while I sitting in the chair. I was reliving Thomas’ experience and comparing it to Chandler’s. My skin crawled because the stories were so similar. I can remember deciding NOT to have Thomas airlifted to MUSC. We were confident we were getting the best help possible at Palmetto…but I was extremely concerned for Chandler…whom I didn’t even know.

It was just minutes after I left Paige’s chair that she texted me and asked me to call Chandler’s dad. I waited until I got home and went back to my closet to pack and I dialed his number. He answered on the first ring…a stranger…with a trembling voice.

As Mark talked about Chandler’s condition, I offered hope by sharing that I knew we served a miracle-performing God…but I knew as he talked that it would take the hand of God to save Chandler. Just based on our recent experience…8 months ago…I could tell by the things Mark was saying that his condition was bleak.

The BEST thing I knew to do was put it out there to my social media friends which in some ways I consider to be my “cyber family.” Let me just say…it was so encouraging and comforting to see the number of people who prayed for Chandler and asked their friends to pray. I know that it comforted the family and Chandler’s wife Lydia. I was crushed when the miracle we had hoped for and prayed for…didn’t happen.

Could God have performed one? Absolutely! Did He? Well…often when I ask for complete healing, God chooses a “perfect” healing in which the destination is heaven and that is what he ordained for Chandler. Not to diminish that it is “hell on earth” for his loved ones who are left behind to grieve the loss. I was very comforted as I got to know Chandler and Lydia through inboxes, social media and speaking personally with Chandler’s dad, Mark, of not only Chandler’s strong faith, but Lydia’s and their families. Realizing the “perfect” healing route for Chandler was just that, PERFECT!

As we read in Philippians 1:21 when Paul says, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain,” I am confident Chandler gained!

But what about all of us left behind?

What are we to do?

I believe we are to do what Paul talks about in Philippians 1:23-26, “I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is BETTER by FAR; but it is more necessary for you that I remain, and I will CONTINUE with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me” [emphasis added].

WE are all Pauls…. and of course Paul wasn’t boasting…but what he was saying is that if I live, then I should encourage progress and joy in the “faith.” My life should be looked at and credited with these kinds of things. This is for all of us who love Jesus and it became even more significant to me with our own son Thomas receiving the “miracle” this past February, prolonging his life on this earth.

If we are not dead, God is not done. WE should be about His work. As the news of Chandler’s death reached me, ironically but for sure God orchestrated, I was spending the week with Thomas in Dallas as his caddy. This is a rare thing these days to spend that kind of time with any of our young adult children. As Thomas and I spent an extraordinary amount of time together, we were able to talk about his mission in life–what God would have him do.

It was encouraging and inspiring to know that Thomas wanted to have a mission that he could live every day. One that his job didn’t dictate nor a title or a degree. It was something he could do no matter where he was: ”to love, serve and encourage others.” This is something his mentors who love Jesus have encouraged Thomas to do. To seek to have a mission in life not dictated by worldly things or what ESPN deems as success…but what God deems as a success like Paul talks about.

Point of post…I encourage readers to think about and pray about a life mission.

Something you can do day in and day out. Whether you are a CEO of a major company or unemployed. Whether you have three degrees or a GED or no degree. Whether you are red, yellow, black or white. We are all precious in His sight. I do believe when we die if we have lived a “mission” that seeks to love, serve and encourage others, WE will have lived life very well and the name of Christ Jesus will abound on account of us!

“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.” ~John Wesley

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