One day when my son, Reid, was just a little over one year old, I went home from the office in the middle of the day to surprise my wife for lunch. My wife’s a blogger, and she was working on a new post that day.
When I show up, Reid’s upstairs napping. Lauren asks me to read what she’s written before she posts it, so I sit down to give it a look. And while we’re sitting there reading and just catching up, I hear Reid upstairs.
He’s not able to get out of his crib yet, of course, but something up there just sounds … wrong. I don’t know if you can understand that if you’re not a parent, but if you are, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about. You get used to certain sounds of stirring, crying, turning over. You know which silence is normal and which isn’t. And this time, something just doesn’t sound right.
So I say that.
I say, “What is that?”
Lauren heads upstairs. I sit down at the computer to finish reading her blog post. As I’m scanning through her post, I hear her scream like I’ve never heard her scream before. She’s screaming at the top of her lungs—and she’s running down the stairs, carrying my son, who’s in a full-on seizure, turning blue and gasping for air. He’s trying to breathe, but he can’t.
I take Reid from her, set him down on the ground, try talking to him, try to get him to snap out of it, and Lauren starts dialing 9-1-1. The fire department is literally a block from our house, so I hear them, while my wife’s on the phone with them, fire up the siren and start the short drive to my house.
I turn Reid on his side. I don’t know if he’s living or if he’s dying, but the ambulance gets there right away, and the paramedics push me out of the way and start working on him. Then they hustle Reid outside and put him in the back of the ambulance.
They turn to Lauren and me and say, “Only one of you can ride in the ambulance.”
Now, I don’t know how it works in your house, but we didn’t even have a discussion about that. We didn’t say, “Well, what do you think? Do you want to go?” My wife just gets in the ambulance. She doesn’t even turn around. She doesn’t look at me. She doesn’t nod. She just gets in the ambulance, and the paramedics tell me, “Follow us.”
So I run and get in my car. The paramedics shut the ambulance door. Boom, and they’re gone. I don’t know what hospital they’re going to. I quickly start my car and tear off after them, and I keep up with them for maybe about the first mile. They’ve got a siren, remember, and I don’t. So it doesn’t take long for me to get cut off and for us to get separated.
I don’t know where I’m going. I don’t know where they are going. I can’t get Lauren to answer her cell phone. And I don’t know if my one-year-old son is about to die.
How do you rejoice then? Because God is not saying through Paul, “Rejoice when everything’s going well.” He said, “Rejoice always.” “Always” includes when they put your son in the back of an ambulance. Or when you get put in there yourself.
Matt Chandler and Jared C. Wilson, To Live Is Christ, To Die Is Gain (Colorado Springs, CO: David C Cook, 2013), 9–11.
We have just released a new Bible Study based on the book: To Live Is Christ (A Study of Philippians), by Matt Chandler
These lessons are available on Amazon, as well as a part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription Service. Like Netflix for Bible Lessons, one low subscription gives you access to all our lessons–thousands of them. For a medium-sized church, lessons are as little as $10 per teacher per year.
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #1
Philippians 1.1 – 5
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #2
The Worthy Life
Philippians 1.6 – 30
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #3
The One God Exalts
Philippians 2.1 – 18
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #4
What the Humble Seek
Philippians 2.19 – 30
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #5
The Passionate Pursuit
Philippians 3.1 – 11
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #6
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #7
Philippians 3.13 – 16
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #8
Centering the Gospel
Philippians 3.17 – 21
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #9
Philippians 3.1; 4.4
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #10
Philippians 4.6 – 7
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #11
Christ Is All / I Can Do All Things
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #12
Each lesson consists of 20 or so ready-to-use questions that get groups talking. Answers are provided in the form of quotes from respected authors such as John Piper, Max Lucado and Beth Moore.
These lessons will save you time as well as provide deep insights from some of the great writers and thinkers from today and generations past. I also include quotes from the same commentaries that your pastor uses in sermon preparation.
Ultimately, the goal is to create conversations that change lives.