Monday March 15 – Day 27 – BE LIKE STEVE

 In Lenten Devotional

Monday March 15 – Day 27 – BE LIKE STEVE

“4May he give you the desire of your heart
 and make all your plans succeed.
  5 May we shout for joy over your victory
 and lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the Lord grant all your requests.
6 Now this I know:
    The Lord gives victory to his anointed.
  He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary
 with the victorious power of his right hand.” – Psalm 20:4-6 (NIV)

This morning I received a text from my friend Michael letting me know that our good friend Steve passed away after his lengthy fight against cancer.  Steve was diagnosed with cancer in 2013 and was given a very very short life expectation of one week.  After various surgeries and treatments, he stretched one week to almost 8 years.

Steve and I met, I believe, through our friend Eric and we played in Eric’s band.  Steve played guitar and I played bass.  As a guitar player I was tired of bringing numerous guitars for the sounds I wanted, not to mention a large pedal board and sometimes two amplifiers.  Playing bass, all I needed was my bass and and amp.  Luxury for a musician who has to travel and move his own gear!

I quickly learned that he was a progressive rock fan but also loved the Beatles.  As we got to know each other, I invited him to join us on our various tribute shows and he was always a favourite with the crowd.  I even invited him to our BIG paying gig in Orillia, where I was able to bring a 5 piece band for a yearly Beatles’ event that was one of my performing highlights.  The band recreated the White Album song for song for their show, but we ran out of time to do Revolution 9 (which was a blessing because we had no idea how to perform it and we were going to do a jam and just let things happen – sometimes I like to leave certain elements in a live performance to chance just to see me on my toes).  It was a joy to play with Steve, and when he was INTO the moment on stage, it was fun to watch him perform.

One of the last gigs we did together was at a Tom Petty tribute at the Casbah.  One of the songs he wanted to do was “The Waiting” and planned to do the guitar solo, which was phenomenal.  One of the moments when we practiced and made us both crack up was looking at each other during the line, “Everyday you see one more…” and we wanted to make sure we got the lyric right between “card” and “yard”.  On cue, as that line came up, he would turn to me on his left and get eye contact with me, we would sing the right line and it would crack me up.

Steve got joy right.

We had a wonderful chat a while back and he assured me that he was walking with Jesus and that he had worked out his salvation.  He didn’t have to tell me this because of the way he lived.  When he met soon-to-be wife Isabel at some of our paying gigs, I could see a difference in his demeanour and energy.  He looked truly happy.  His walk with Jesus as he struggled with the demands of his body and the cancer ravaging it simply leaked from him effortlessly.

He trusted and he loved Jesus.  In all of the interactions he had with those vying for his time and attention, he treated people with gentleness and resolve.  He was a straight shooter but he also knew that it’s good to tell the truth, just don’t always be telling it.

Even though Steve did not get to live a long life, God gave him the desires of his heart:  he had love, he had his children, and he pursued all of his artistic interests as he dealt with cancer.  He wrote two books about his cancer journey, made countless amazing videos making music from his home studio, played with his band, managed a few new artists and was able to contribute to Gracenotes’ Summer Music Festival not to mention spending time with his family.

God allowed Steve’s plans to succeed because Steve TRUSTED in God and had surrendered his life to Jesus.

Steve got so much more than he lost.

The Lord has also given victory to Steve:  he has been greeted into the arms of God to live eternally.  Steve no longer has to deal with pain, or worry about his family, or deal with another hospital stay.  He has been freed and for that, I am happy.

But to be honest, I am also downright angry at God that Steve never experienced a complete healing.  I am angry that his children will no longer hear his voice, or his wife be able to fully embrace him in this life.  Steve should have had longer on this earth.  He did so many good things for others and made his corner of the world a better place.  Wouldn’t you think that God would extend his earthly life so that others could benefit?

The truth is, none of us are promised a long life here on planet earth.  What we are promised is a full and amazing journey if we know WHO is driving the train.

As I mourn my friend I think of you, the church, and wish the same sentiments for you that are outlined in Psalm 20:

“May he give you the desire of your heart
    and make all your plans succeed.
May we shout for joy over your victory
    and lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the Lord grant all your requests”

May your desire be granted to you by God, and may your plans succeed during this season of Lent.  Continue to shout for joy that because of Jesus, you can share in the victory of beating sin and death.  May your requests be granted and may the world see the joy God has created in your heart.  Do not let anything rob you of that joy today.  Steve did not allow his suffering and his shortened life expectancy rob him of living fully in God.

I hope that on the day this devotion gets to you that your sky is a brilliant suburban blue.  I pray a friend reaches out to you and blesses you with their encouragement.  I pray that although we know our days are numbered here, that we can live IN THE KNOWLEDGE that heaven is not far away.  Our beautiful mile from earth to heaven can be just that.  Leave your worries and your cares at the foot of the cross and know that Jesus will walk with you in your struggles and in your victories.  You will never be defeated, ever.

Steve got joy right.  Joy is an essential requirement and part of the Lenten journey.  Church, be like Steve today and celebrate the life you have been blessed with.  Know you are Loved.

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