A note from Josie: In 2008, John Stumbo’s name spread like wildfire through Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA) churches and around the world. He was a pastor who was in the fight of his life. John almost lost his life numerous times, yet God saved him. He had a long road to recovery and I’m sure he still deals with the effects of the mysterious illness that plagued his body. On June 13, 2013, John was elected President of the U.S. C&MA. I find great encouragement and hope in John’s story and I’m so glad he was willing to be honest with the world in the midst of illness. He has written two books, which I highly recommend. “An Honest Look at a Mysterious Journey” was published in 2011. It tells the story of his illness and recovery. “In the Midst: Treasures from the Dark” was published in 2012. It is a collection of blog posts written in the midst of illness. This book reads like a devotional and has blessed my life and given me hope. Below is a blog posts from John’s book that he so graciously allowed us to share with you.
Without really thinking, I quickly responded, “That this isn’t random, and it won’t be wasted.”
Now, as I’ve confessed before, let’s be clear that I’m not a steady rock of faith every day. I can withdraw into a cave of discouragement and dwell in doubt as easily as most anyone. Yet, by God’s grace, most days I really do believe this to be true: What I’m experiencing isn’t by random chance, nor will it be wasted.
I’m convinced that your life and mine have purpose. The Apostle Paul certainly lived this way declaring, “I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace” (Acts 20:24).
When you study Paul’s life, you realize that he could have and should have been dead many times. In fact, he probably was dead at least once (Acts 14:19). He lived with a longing to be in heaven but remained fully engaged on this earth because of a deep realization that he had a task to accomplish (Philippians 1:21-26). He knew there were a purpose, design and sovereign hand involved in his life. He knew that part of that sovereign plan was for him to suffer (Acts 9:16). I think Paul would say, “My suffering has purpose. It will be used by God and rewarded by God.”
If I believed that this illness “just happened to happen” to me and that it didn’t have any ultimate purpose or meaning, I would have despaired. I don’t think I could have handled the level of loss I’ve experienced if I didn’t believe there were major victories to be found in the process. But I have a recurring assurance that, while I don’t like this journey, it has meaning and leads to a good destination.
So, my word to you is: Carry on. Live another day to do what is yours to do, to love those who are yours to love, to serve those you have the privilege to serve and to receive from those gracious enough to give. Arise to another day you may enjoy but can endure; a day you may want to forget, but that will not be forgotten by the One who delights in rewarding His servants. Open the shades to let the light in for another day . . . into your home, into your soul, into your relationships. Breathe deeply, pray humbly, and give another day your best shot.
We can do this. He’ll make sure of it (Philippians 1:6).
Your fellow traveler,
A mysterious life-threatening condition landed pastor and ultramarathon runner, John Stumbo, in the hospital for seventy-seven days. In his recovery, John continued to write, coach leaders, and speak at churches and events across the country. He holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from George Fox Evangelical Seminary. John and his wife Joanna have just celebrated their 30th anniversary and have three grown children. In June of 2013, John was elected as President of the Christian and Missionary Alliance (Colorado Springs, CO).
Learn more about John Stumbo: http://www.cmalliance.org/about/family/leadership/john-stumbo
Order John’s books: http://booksnbibles.com/index.php?controller=search&orderby=position&orderway=desc&search_query=John+Stumbo&submit_search=Search