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A Note From Larry Crabb

March 18, 2014

To So Many Friends,

As I write this (with pen and paper, of course – is there now another way?), I’m sitting in a coffee shop 13 days after the March 4 procedure for which so many prayed. Please receive this note as one deeply sincere and very grateful thank you! Enough said, but I want to say more.

First, the procedure – a catheter through a vein in my groin that targeted 3 cancer lesions on my liver – went precisely as planned. The day after Catscan pleased the doctor. As of now, all is well; in the big picture, “all manner of things shall be well” (as Julian of Norwich famously and accurately said.) Significant pain, nausea, and heartburn were expected. No pain, no nausea, and no heartburn materialized – except some probably chemo-related fairly lousy headaches. Nurses were surprised. I am grateful, certainly for your prayers, more for the One who answers them as He sees fit, not as we legislate. He’s never cooperative, always gracious.

Second, I’ve read dozens and dozens of your letters and emails. I’m starting to believe a thousand love-filled prayers assaulted heaven. I suspect the Lord enjoyed them even more than I did. I’ve long been drawn to an understanding of prayer that C.S. Lewis expressed in these words: “When we pray, we take part in the process of being known”. James Houston, a personal mentor, titled one of his books: Prayer: The Transforming Friendship. Our Father already knows us, but I imagine He feels closer to us when we open ourselves fully to Him in trust no matter what happens. The effect is a friendship deepens, on our side. Jesus already called us His friends. Remarkable. It’s that friendship that transforms us into increasingly faithful friends. He needs no transformation; He is already worthy of our worship, whatever happens.

On March 2, our pastor Mimi Dixon wonderfully surprised Rachael and me by inviting 200 people to surround us and pray. I know it meant a lot to Rachael. She came close to tears, as did I. No, tears actually came! For me, the impact was to help me access a quiet confidence that God would advance His good purpose whatever happened, and, somewhat miraculously (whatever a “somewhat miracle” means), I became joyfully aware that I was actually more interested in whatever He chose to do than in my prayer for a successful procedure (I still wanted that too, of course).

Our church friends’ prayers, and each of yours, has stirred good things in me, much more than improved health. I’m grateful. Thank you for your prayers.

Third, the devil seems to find my flesh never more open to his deceit than when I feel deeply blessed, as I have in the days since the procedure. Years ago, I preached a sermon I called “Blessings Are Dangerous”. I can like them too much, and quietly (without realizing it) feel entitled and become more desirous of circumstance-based pleasure than Spirit-provided joy, whatever the circumstance. It is then the devil seizes his nefarious opportunity.

For the past several days, I’ve sensed a distance between my soul and God’s love. That awareness precipitated a battle: the urge to reproduce good feelings through my own resources and in dependence on loving responses from others and based on blessed efforts at writing my next book versus the longing to non-demandingly trust in God’s heart to provide whatever experience of His presence and any provision of blessing He knows will more deeply form the life of Jesus in me. At the moment, the Spirit is giving me what I need to recognize and resist my devil-energized flesh. Of course He is always giving me what I need; but too often I’m so preoccupied with second things that I fail to be aware of His movement to draw me toward first things. Every movement of knowing His reality is golden. The battle is real but going well.

Now, enough said. I wanted to open myself to you as each of you has opened your heart to me. One more time, THANK YOU!

Warmly in Christ,

Larry

P.S. This letter is addressed first to Rachael, then to my family, to my spiritual formation small group, to my church family at First Presbyterian of Golden, to the dozens who are praying as I work on my next book, to every SSD graduate, and to the thousands who have been so gracious to indicate their willingness to keep up with NewWay Ministries through Rachael’s prayer initiative. To all of you, I’m most grateful.

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2 Comments
  1. Larry, thanks for your note… your story of the Father’s intervention in your situation, your community of friends, and the spiritual battle in your soul. Your honest about the battle stirred me to a deeper awareness of my own soul’s battles at this time. Hope we can meet up again sometime. I really appreciate the investment you have made in my own soul’s journey.

  2. Your comments, “For me, the impact was to help me access a quiet confidence that God would advance His good purpose whatever happened, and, somewhat miraculously (whatever a “somewhat miracle” means), I became joyfully aware that I was actually more interested in whatever He chose to do than in my prayer for a successful procedure” sounds so much like my ex-father-in-law, (whom you knew) when he prayed for the Lord to use whatever He willed to bring him (Chuck) back to the level of passion for God he once enjoyed. Through his battle with cancer, I believe when he died, his prayer had been answered. I miss him so, still, and am thankful the Lord allowed you your own awareness, and blessed you with a successful procedure as well. praising Him along with you and your family. Christine (Smith) Rowlette

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