I’d heard of this man before. He was spoken of highly, as one who carried the torch of God’s Word with passion and integrity. Folks who’d sat under his teaching were amazed at his ability to rightly divide God’s Word and present it with a clarity and zeal.
I almost met him in October 2009. We were both speaking at a cutting edge event for young leaders. Amongst the crowd of 13,000 participants and over a dozen presenters, our paths never crossed. I’d listened to his message and sat in awe at his wisdom, and more importantly God’s power, that filled the arena.
About a month later, myself and thousands of others got the news that Pastor Matt Chandler had suffered a seizure early in the morning on Thanksgiving day. An MRI revealed a mass in his brain that had to be operated on immediately. It was cancerous, and while the tumor was removed, some cancer cells still remained. A call went out across the nations to pray for this man who shepherds a flock of 8,000 at The Village Church in Dallas and thousands of others through his itinerant ministry.
The nation prayed.
The world prayed.
When I was invited to be a guest on Life Today with James Robison, I didn’t know who the other guests would be. Just hours before I was set to arrive, I found out that Matt and his amazing wife Lauren would be there. This man, this woman, this family that I didn’t know but had prayed for, and who God had spared, were some of the other guests.
We talked. We shared a meal. We discussed mutual friends and experiences and in mere moments my heart was knitted to the Chandlers. Matt, with a scar from surgery clearly visible and Lauren – her enchanting, supportive and godly spirit evident. We learned that our wedding anniversary is almost identical right down to the day and year and that all three of our children are nearly the exact same ages within months of each other.
Matt and Lauren’s show was taped before mine. I sat like a school girl with my chin in my hands, listening to their testimony and soaking in the depth of their relationship with God that has developed through these unplanned events.
And I cried. Yes, like a little baby with no self-control. I cried.
I cried because God’s power was with this family.
I cried because His Spirit’s presence was so obvious.
I cried because through pain they were set on praising.
I cried because their future is unsure and yet their faith is steady.
I cried because these people weren’t playing games with religion, they were set on relationship.
I cried because their perspective on life was changing mine. They hold loosely the things that others hold so dear, and value the things that are often deemed insignificant.
Each breath counts.
Each moment matters.
People like these are few and far between.
I’m better off . . . having met Matt.
And so, I’m still praying. Will you pray with me? God can heal. O yes, He can!
And yet, as Matt so clearly put it while sitting across a television set from James and Betty Robison, “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire. But even if He does not let it be known to you, (Daniel 3:17-18) we will still be followers of the One True God.”