Woke up at 2:12 and again at 4:15. Hardly the plan, but hey, did I snarf that peanut butter and honey sandwich! It was the heel too. Yum. When I woke at 5:16 to what sounded like blaring music, I asked Eileen if she heard it and she told me I was just hearing things. But I got up and sure enough Amy had her iPod in the speakers in her room and it was blaring. Of course Amy is sleeping nicely with a friend in the basement.
Third time up was not a charm for me and I felt God calling me to write.
Many of you know that I have been a very frequent flyer on American for years. It has been nice to have Executive Platinum status because of the free upgrades both in the States and for trips abroad. Some of you have been beneficiaries of those trans-Atlantic upgrades to business and you know exactly what I mean 🙂
Anyway, last year I got to 96K miles and 96 legs. A lot of flying to be sure, but short on both accounts for ExPlat status, according to the rules. But I have a phone 🙂 So I call them and let them know I couldn’t make my final 4 legs due to a brain tumor, which has turned out to be brain cancer. The woman told me she would submit the request to committee, but they don’t make many exceptions. Within 10 minutes I got a call from another woman on the committee, “Thank you for using American Airlines all these years, Mr. Bowen. Consider this good karma, you will retain your Executive Platinum status through 2009.” Hey, call it what you want, but I know God working when I see it. It’s doubtful that I’ll ever hit even platinum status in the future, which is totally fine. I’m just praying for the ability to drive again 🙂
I have been pretty open about my being a Christian since blogging after my surgery. I have many friends who read this who either have other beliefs and even no beliefs. Doesn’t matter to me. I love’em just the same. If you are one of them, I want to thank you for not allowing my views to prevent you from sticking with me. I need you! I do however, confess that I’m praying for many of you by name 🙂 When Paul stood before King Agrippa in Acts 26, King Agrippa asked Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?” I love Paul’s response, which I will personalize, “I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for this cancer.”
I have shared this privately a few times, but have been wanting to blog it for a while. I watched a Beth Moore video with Eileen a few weeks back on “Believing God” and was blown away. It could not have been more perfect for me and I’m stealing one of her lines.
It is SCANDALOUS what God is doing in my life. SCANDALOUS! There aren’t actually that many people who read my blog, maybe 40, but you guys must be scattering my emails to the four corners because the notes I get from people, not often, but very regularly, would blow you away. That God would use me to impact others in such significant ways is the ultimate of ironies. But I shouldn’t be surprised when 1 Cor 1:27 says, “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” You have to know a bit more about my story to know just how ironic.
As far back as I can remember I was a cocky, confident kid. It had to be to overcompensate for the fact that I truly had nothing to be cocky or confident about 🙂 At best I was pretty mediocre at everything. Even in areas where I was more gifted I underperformed because of being overconfidence. When I became a Christian God immediately started working on my “I” problem. I have spent almost 29 years “fighting” God on who should get the focus. Not that I don’t know the right answer, but in truth I’ve always loved the limelight and though I wanted it to be all about him, that is much easier said than done. Ask my friends, and they will tell you that the quality I most admire in anyone is humility, especially when it defies that individuals amazing giftedness.
I’m not saying I don’t think I have gifts and abilities. I can hear my friend Steve saying, “Ok, then I’ll say it for you.” 🙂 Thanks, buddy. And God has brought me such a long way. I think even my parents would say that 🙂 You may hear that cocky confidence slip out once in a while but I have it muted pretty well. But this thing since the cancer. Oh my, I never imagined. You can’t imagine my desire to ensure that God gets all the glory for any good you see from this in me. It regularly causes me to weep as I can not fathom how He could possibly use such a self-centered and depraved person to accomplish His work. But that is His way! He can use ANYONE because only HE is needed.
Being used as a tool in His hand is an awesome journey. Not that it could happen anyway, but you could not talk me off this ride. I am living at a level I believed existed, but was positive I’d never reach. There is a long way to go, but He has definitely broken me through to a new level. I want to be very clear though that God did not give me this cancer. He allowed it, yes, and I’m thankful he did, but there is a huge difference. I may have lost most of you so you’ll just have to trust me.
Often this update is just part of my therapy. It’s very cathartic for me to write (though I usually prefer to edit :-)). If you came the whole way, thanks for listening.