Harder Family

Harder Family

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Update 9/5/23: Tapping Out

Augustine of Hippo once declared, “They, then, who are destined to die, need not be careful to inquire what death they are to die, but into what place death will usher them.”

William Penn wrote, “For death is no more than a turning of us over from time to eternity.”

Death. It is a topic that no one really want to discuss. Why is it that we fear death or even the topic of death? I think it is because it stirs up uncertainty in our hearts. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 7:2 “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart.” How many people do you know that would rather go to a funeral than a wedding or holiday party? Funerals are somber and sad. Why would God say that is better to attend that then a party? I believe it’s because funerals remind us of our frailty, that life is short and we are all headed for the grave. We need that reminder because many times we feel invincible, like we will live forever. 

You may be thinking, man, this is a downer post. In actuality, this is really a post of hope. When Wayne was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer 8.5 years ago, I can honestly say it initially rocked our world. Amazingly, Wayne quickly snapped out of it and realized this was his chance to show the world what his faith meant to him. His love of Jesus wasn’t just something he kept in his back pocket as a charm or something he checked off his to-do list each week. He jumped at the chance to share with others what Jesus had done in his life and shared the hope he has because of what Jesus did for him. Although it was not always welcomed or accepted, people listened because they could see something different in him. They saw someone facing death who had joy, peace, and hope. Wayne knew this was his chance to give God glory either through his life or death.

That is one reason we initially started writing this blog. We wanted our children and grandchildren to see how awesome Jesus is and how He uses different things in our lives to grow us closer to Him and to point others to Him.

A question that I heard recently was, “If you knew you only had two weeks to live, what would you do?” The first thing that came to my mind was some special people in my life that I would call and passionately share Jesus with. I also thought to myself that I wouldn’t care if strangers thought I was weird. I would share Jesus with everyone I met. If that is something I’d do if I was dying, why don’t I do that now? We are all the walking dead. 

Have you heard the analogy that we are all just one step from death? We don’t know how long we have on this earth. Between car accidents, freak accidents, disease, and more, we are all one breath away from the end.

That being said, I cannot help but ask you, if you were to die today/tonight or be given a terminal diagnosis, where would you spend eternity? See, as our pastor says, “We aren’t a body with a soul, we are a soul with a body. When we die we aren’t done. We will spend an eternity one of two places.” Do you know where you would spend eternity? When Jesus asks you why He should let you in, what is your answer? No amount of good deeds will get you there. Attending religious activities will not get you there. Not even just belief in Jesus will get you there. The Bible says in James 2:19, “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that, and shudder.” 

Too many times we try to fill the God-sized hole in our lives with anything and everything. God has put eternity in our hearts, as Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also self eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

Only faith and trust in the finished work of Jesus on the cross will get you there. You must acknowledge that you are a sinner in need of Jesus. Romans 3:23 declares that we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God. See, even the good things I’ve done in this life are considered filthy rags to God (Isaiah 64:6). But, God loved us so much, He provided a way for us to have a relationship with Him and made a way for us to spend an eternity with Him in heaven. Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life here on earth so that He could go to the cross and pay the penalty of our sins. Amazingly, it didn’t stop there. He rose 3 days later, conquering sin and death on our behalf. 

The gospel is really so simple. We must believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and acknowledge that we have sinned and need His blood to cover our sins. It’s a free gift! Nothing we can do can earn it, He offers it freely. Even better, we don’t have to clean ourselves up first before we come to Him. He pursues and loved us just as we are. Over time He will work on each one of us to transform us more like His son (sanctification), but for now, He waits with open arms for you to surrender to His love for you!

I love Ephesians 2:1-10. “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us loved among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. BUT because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead In transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

It has always been our prayer from the beginning of this journey that God would use our story to draw people to Him. Wayne has said if just one person comes to a saving knowledge of Jesus, all of this hard cancer stuff will be worth it. I know some may say we are just using religion as a crutch during this time, but that is not true. We believe 100% what we share with you. It’s not a trite answer or a flippant thing we share. We can testify to what God has done in our lives not only over the last 8.5 years, but in all our years. 

If you are not sure where you stand with the Lord or where you would spend eternity, please reach out to us (harder35@gmail.com). We would love to share our testimony of how Jesus has changed our lives. Without Him, there is no way we could walk this hard journey of cancer with hope and joy. 

Update: Wayne

Look at the bruises he’s gotten from his falls!

We had a scare this week. Wayne fell at least four times, once while taking the dog out to the bathroom. He told his physical therapist about his sprain and that he heard a pop. He sent us today to an orthopedic because he was concerned it was fractured. When I heard that word, I thought, “For real God? I’m not fighting You. I’ve tapped out a long time ago.” Thankfully, the X-rays today showed no fracture. But what this scare did do, is out the ball in motion to get a ramp for Wayne and also an electric wheelchair all lined up. The thought that he could have ended up in that spot and we weren’t ready was concerning. So, thanks to some amazing friends and church, they are helping us look into all of this moving forward. 

* I will update the blog with results as soon as we know anything.

Update: Rebecca

I got all my pre-op tests done today. One week from tomorrow I should be home from surgery. I’m looking forward to getting this out since it’s trying to kill me.

The kids found a way to multi-task on a hot day. They did school from the pool. Both of them failed in the sunscreen department though. At least they are having fun while doing school!

Prayer Requests:

- Please pray as we travel to Chicago tomorrow for safe travels.

- Wayne’s MRI and other tests on Friday

- Someone is coming to look at his truck on Saturday. Please pray that it sells. 

- Please pray for our friend meeting with surgeons tomorrow about her recurrent brain tumor.

Once again, we couldn’t do this difficult path without all of you! Thank you for faithfully praying and following our “adventures”.

No comments:

Post a Comment