From time to time in my life, I run across something that stirs my affections for Christ in a new way.  Nothing has quite done this like the testimony of Nathan Schroer.  It is a tragic story that testifies to God’s goodness in the darkest circumstances.  I encourage you to take a few minutes and watch the video above but if you can’t, let me fill you in.

Nathan was a police officer in Evansville, Indiana who battled leukemia for nearly a decade.  In his lifetime, he was an anchor in the community – serving local sexual abuse victims, training police officers overseas, and becoming an adoptive parent.  After nine years and three bouts with the cancer, it took his life.  This video put out by I am Second was recorded months before his death after learning that his condition was terminal. 

Nathan’s testimony is unique in that it isn’t a story of miraculous healing.  This isn’t the feel-good narrative of God saving someone from drug addiction or making the blind man see.  It is the true story of a man who devoted his life to Christ but was still made to suffer and still died from his disease.  The most gripping moment is this quote from Nathan, describing the moment he realized that he wouldn’t make it:

“God, I’ve got you figured out. I’ve read your Scriptures and I know you can do amazing things through people’s death. So, I’m ready for you to do that. Use my death in this incredible way. I don’t like it but it’s gonna be OK.”

One of the most frightening tenants of the Prosperity Gospel is the idea that God will always rescue us from pain if we just have enough faith.  In other words, if your cancer goes away, congratulations!  You had enough faith.  If you die, you didn’t have what it took.  In reality, we serve a sovereign God who is good in both victory and tragedy.  He deserves our worship in those moments of relief and unrelenting sorrow.  Our faith, however big or small, has nothing to do with it.

I write this not to preach at anyone in a painful circumstance – only to encourage you with this truth – God is still good.  He still loves you, still has a plan for you, and still values you.  He might choose to rescue you from your circumstances or choose to glorify himself in your suffering.  Either way, he is still in control and still present in your pain.  

I am both encouraged and left speechless by Nathan’s testimony.  I am blown away by a faith that keeps worshipping in the face of death.  Yet, this is the very faith that God deserves and the very faith that sets us free.  All I can say is that I hope I can demonstrate this same act of faith and trust in the midst of suffering – not placing my faith in God’s ability to heal but in his goodness in whatever he chooses to do.

“Everything that’s happened in my life should have made me realize I am praying far too small. This God can do so much more than I can even wrap my mind around. I think I am just now getting to the point in my life where I understand that God is desiring for me to pray big things, for my heart to desire to see him exercise His awesome power, for His glory. God has continued to do these amazing things in my life. And I just attribute it to the fact that I just wanted to see that he was enough. And he showed me he is enough. ” — Nathan Schroer