Last week I read some shocking news, a megachurch pastor and mental-health advocate, who reached out helping people dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts, died by suicide.
Shortly before his death, he tweeted “Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure suicidal thoughts. Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure depression”.
As I read this, my heart remembered all children who are suffering from DIPG, they’re courageously and bravely enduring pain and treatments, fighting to live longer.
This is DIPG, we have to deal with double vision, difficulty in facial expression, pain on the eye and face, pain on the muscle joints, difficulty in swallowing, difficulty speaking, difficulty urinating, weakness in the arms and legs, loss of balance, difficulty walking, difficulty breathing, head pressure, head pulsing pain, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, and so on.
We also deal with the side effects from the drugs that make our physical appearance change, such as hair loss, rapid gain weight, full-moon face, and so on.
I said, “loving Jesus doesn’t always cure terminal brain cancer, too.”
::: STATED BELIEF
A few days earlier that week, I was checking my website, I posted nearly 100 articles in these past 2 years. Then, my heart asked me this very question: “is this your true belief, or your stated belief?”
It brought me back to my past. Back then in Beijing, I claimed myself as a Christian, but I whittled down my claim by pattern incongruity of my practice of the truth.
I loved the fellowship, loved the religion, enjoyed the culture. I found it socially comforting and personally compelling. Thus, these reasons made me want to stay Christian.
I served voluntarily in the church, playing keyboard and sharing gospel.
Ironically, I wasn’t interested in God at all, but only in what we sing about Him.
I was drawn away from the love of the content and its meaning, to the love of the way I told it.
I have never given a thought to Christ Himself.
At the end, I only become interested in my own persona and reputation, nothing more.
::: A TURNING POINT
In May 2017, at the age of 36, I was diagnosed with the most lethal brain cancer, diffuse intrinsic pontine glioblastoma (DIPG) in an advanced stage. The prognosis was both grim and precise: Without treatment, I might have a few months; with treatment, I could last maybe 2 years.
That moment, I realized that I want now only the true and real. And my journey in pursuit of truth began.
The scripture said “seek, and you’ll find”.
And yes I found the evidence to believe.
My faith in Christ is not against knowledge and reality.
My faith is my response to the evidence.
As I dive deeper in the Bible, I found it is deeply rooted in history, in reality, in philosophy thinking, in existential realm.
They’re not myths.
They’re not fantasy stories.
People may argue Jesus never existed.
But that is not history, that’s ideology.
::: ASKING QUESTIONS
During my journey living in my commitment to Christ, I do sometimes struggle with questions. Why pain, why me, why now, why this and why that, lots of why.
These lead me to learn a lot, too.
I read the Bible, listen to good speakers, read good writers.
I may never have a comprehensive explanation for everything,
but I can have a meaningful answer to questions that I asked.
I think this what helps me not feeling stagnant,
but going from strength to strength,
from faith to faith.
I will always be moving in the direction of knowing more of my Savior, Jesus Christ.
So, don’t indict yourself for asking questions.
But, if you get into the territory of doubt (of His existence), then you have to have a very good friend that you can talk to, to help you through it.
::: TRUSTWORTHY AND RELIABLE
Currently I’m in Switzerland accompanying Tobias on business trip. We left our house key with our neighbor. So she can let the contractor into our flat and repair our wall.
(We have been having terrible trouble with damp seeping into our flat caused by our next door neighbour’s leaking pipe. Our wall is damaged.)
Tobias and me are placing our trust in them.
We are exercising faith that our neighbor won’t steal things from us;
We are exercising faith that the repair guy won’t implant hidden cameras.
this morning you are exercising faith that the barista at the cafe won’t slip poison into your coffee;
You are exercising faith that your team will complete the project on time.
Everyone, no matter what we believe, skeptic or atheist, actually we’re exercising faith everyday in millions of different ways.
Everyone in this world has faith in something. Perhaps in ourselves, in society, in science, in progress, in God.
We simply cannot get away from faith.
So the question is not, “do you have faith?”,
cos’ all of us do.
The question is, “where do you place your faith?”, “is that thing/person trustworthy and strong enough to sustain you?”
::: RENEWED MIND
A profound sense of peace and acceptance of suffering came when my view of God shifted.
In the past, I have always pictured God created this world, then stood back, and happily sitting on His throne, do as He likes and pleases, watching me in the arena, how many hoops I could jump through. I thought this is the sovereign God, heartless.
I was constantly thinking how to please God in hopes that He would makes my life better. Until, I was disappointed, life was not getting better, and I ditched my belief.
Now, I realized that there’s nothing I can do to make God love me more than He already does. He is not the God who stands back and watches me suffer. But, He is the God who rolls up His sleeves, steps off His throne into this world, lived not in honor, suffered indignity, betrayed and humiliated, until he died crucified on the cross to redeem me. God express His sovereignty through love. And He is risen indeed, so my faith is not in vain, I have assurance and hope.
Therefore, I am now constantly thinking how to remain in His love, and testifying the grace He has given me, and sharing His love to others.
::: ABIDE IN HIS LOVE
Yes, I agree that
loving Jesus doesn’t always cure mental illness,
loving Jesus doesn’t always cure depression,
loving Jesus doesn’t always cure cancer,
loving Jesus doesn’t always cure pain in life.
Before I committed my life to Jesus, I was living with pain (mentally),
after I committed my life to Jesus, I still live with pain (terminal cancer),
BUT now I have pain with a HOPE!
Friends, I don’t know where you’re at.
I know where I’m at: I have blessed assurance and hope.
We couldn’t live without hope.
Life is the most sacred gift HE has given to us.
Don’t violate the image of God in you,
don’t think about hurting your life,
God loves you and He’ll carry you through.
PS: oh by the way, I learned a lot from the Bible Project, Dr. Tim Mackie on YouTube and Podcast. Highly recommended! Check it out! https://thebibleproject.com/
“Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.”
Ephesians 3:17-19 NLT
“Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God.”
1 John 3:18-19 NLT
::: UPDATE ABOUT ME
2 Years 4 Months Post Biopsy
Midline Pontine Glioblastoma/DIPG Grade IV
Next Wednesday, September 25th, I will know the MRI result. If the tumor is stable, then I will continue receive the 16th round avastin chemo.
My symptoms are pretty much the same, but as I mentioned few weeks ago, intensity is increasing. However, I have no new symptoms developed.
Please go to http://titien.de/my-medical-history/ for more details.
Thanks for keeping me in your prayers 🙏
PS: Thank you for reading, commenting and sharing my posts.
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5 Replies to “IN PURSUIT OF TRUTH”
Fantastic pictures and stories, Titien! You both look very very well!! Looking forward to welcoming you back to Barcelona this week!
Love and hugs from Gavin and Sònia
Yihaaaaa! Mri result showed that the tumor is stable! So continue receiving avastin chemo now. God is good. Thanks everyone for your good wishes and prayers ! 😘 🤗
“Way maker, Miracle worker, Promise keeper, Light in the darkness, my God that is who You are.” 🎶 🎉
*28 months post biopsy, midline pontine glioblastoma (DIPG) Grade IV
Yesssss! I’m so happy to hear it! I just called Tobias as soon as I heard the news! Celebrating with a chocolate chip cookie in your honour, made by Lily! Looking forward to seeing you this weekend!
That’s who indeed He is. All the praise be unto Him. Happy that the results turned out positive. Be strong and let God do what He does best.
Yes and amen! Thanks Steve