Posted by: Tim | May 22, 2008

Praying for Duane, Relying on God

This has been a tough week for our church. We received the news last week that Duane Kraaikamp, our Director of Worship Arts & Children’s Ministries, appears to have cancer in his pancreas and liver, based on an MRI scan. He went in today for a biopsy to confirm or hopefully deny these results. Duane is 35 years old, married to Crystal, and they have four boys age 7 and under. Please join us in praying for a miracle, according to the will of our sovereign Lord.

I preached a message on Sunday called “The God of all Comfort” from 2 Corinthians 1:3-11, interrupting the series were are currently doing. I felt that we needed to hear from God about suffering, in light of this crisis in Duane’s life and in the life or our whole church. I was physically and emotionally exhausted and felt my need for the Lord’s power in my preaching more than usual. I think the Lord really worked and it was an important morning for our church. Many people came forward at the end to call on the Lord for help and receive prayer for whatever suffering they face in their own lives.

I thought the key verse in the passage was 2 Cor. 1:9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. (ESV, emphasis mine)

It is amazing how a crisis like this calls us to our knees in total dependence upon God. I said in the sermon that I wish I had a Star Trek tricorder that I could wave over Duane and fix whatever is wrong inside, but of course I can’t because it doesn’t really exist. It is really hard for us when we can’t just fix it – we are so used to being able to ‘fix’ so many things in our modern world.

In asking people to pray for Duane, I have heard a couple of people say anecdotally that they have noticed an increase in instances of cancer in younger people, and wonder what may be causing it – chemicals in our food? who knows? In light of this verse, “to make us rely not on ourselves but on God”, I can’t help but wonder if God is allowing an increase because our culture is so self-reliant, and He needs to drive us back to Himself by allowing us to face problems that are humanly unsolvable. I don’t mean to say that God glibly or cruelly causes cancer or any other disease. I believe all disease is ultimately a result of The Fall – death came when man sinned, and we all face the consequences of that first sin today through disease (and through every other problem we have in our world). But I believe God is sovereign, and this Scripture says that suffering makes us depend on Him instead of ourselves. God has purposes in all things, and the passage also says that we receive comfort and salvation through the affliction of others (v6). Could it be that God is drawing people to Himself for salvation, through Duane’s affliction? When a person comes to Christ they are expressing their reliance on Him to save them, not on themselves. In the message (or at least in the sermon notes) I expressed that God is more concerned with our trust being in Him than He is in our physical wellbeing. He wants us to totally rely on Him.

Well I can say it’s working. We are relying on God completely for Duane’s health. Literally 100’s of people all over the place are crying out to God on behalf of Duane and Crystal. We are left with no option but to trust in God for Duane’s healing and for our comfort. Please join us in prayer, and join us in relying on the Lord more than we have before.

Thank you in the name of the Lord!

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