Note: I was going through some documents on my computer and came across this article written by Jim Boggan in 2007. After my own encounter with cancer, this all makes much more sense. Jim passed away after shortly after he wrote this, leaving a wife, Shelley, and son, Nathan.
A gently shocking encounter in the dark
by Jim Boggan
In the fog of an awakening in the dark, jumbled ideas formed themselves into a conversation:
“Your name, Lord (not mine).”
“At some point, they’re linked.”
“That scares me, Lord.” Unformed thought: I don’t want to let you down.
“I am not ashamed to be called your God.”
Yes, that will take some explaining.
FYI: a month past cancer surgery, I’m looking toward radiation and chemotherapy. I have a 50-percent chance of survival, the M.D.s say.
This cancer thing is resulting in some interesting thoughts coming my way. Some of them are just random firings of the neurons of a fatigued brain. Others mean something to me.
The fatigue comes from the fact that I spend my nights sitting up to keep from choking; I can’t swallow. Several times a night I wake up to see something I don’t understand, then I recognize it as my own abdomen or lap. Or a fragment of a dream will insert itself into my awakening.
In the darkness I woke up this morning with the idea that the hospital public relations department wanted my picture, and those of the other patients. We were to be promoted as the Radiation Department’s “team” for the month.
Oh, well, every dog has his day, and I was to have my 15 minutes of fame. I reacted against the idea. That was the basis for my reaction, “Your name, Lord.”
That phrase will take some explaining.
For several years now “Your name, Lord,” has been a prayer of mine. I want my life to exalt his name. By elimination, it also means, “not mine.”
This time when I prayed, I believe I heard an answer.
I know that sounds strange to those of you who know me and my beliefs. It must drive some of you crazy.
When it comes to healing from my cancer, I’m more Calvinist – resting in the sovereignty of God. I don’t believe he’s under any obligation to heal me. On the other hand, when it comes to hearing from him I’m nearly a Charismatic.
What I heard, when I said, “Your name, Lord (not mine),” was, “At some point they’re linked.”
His name and mine. His and yours, if you’re a believer. The world looks at you and sees Jesus, for better or worse. In the fog of my mind this morning (or maybe it was a sign of clarity) the “worse” came to the fore – the fear that I’ll let him down.
When you stop to think about it, the idea that God would accept our allegiance or friendship is crazy. Looking at ourselves, our sin, our weakness, why should he want any association with us? It’s rather like a politician receiving a campaign contribution from the Ku Klux Klan.
Now here is God, telling me his name and mine are linked.
“That scares me, Lord,” I said.
His reply: “I am not ashamed to be called your God.”
That comes from Hebrews 11, I think. It’s just described all that the people of God have gone through and says, “That is why he is not ashamed to be called their God.”
Ultimately, the world will be forced to acknowledge Jesus, and will know that what in me is bad has nothing to do with him. But he’s not worried about that.
He’s not ashamed to be called my God.