Eugene Cho

“god is good. and he is enough…”

Today’s post is about Pastor Zac Smith.  It feels strange blogging about a person I’ve never and until this weekend, hadn’t even heard of.  But in learning more about his story over this weekend, he feels like someone I know. Certainly, someone I would have loved to have met…

Since I haven’t had the privilege of meeting him, I’ve done the second best thing and been scouring through his blog and absorbing his honesty, pain, faith, and wisdom – in the middle of real life.

Zac was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer in May 2009 and today, May 16 2010, he passed away.

His story is similar which is probably why it resonates so much with me. Zac was a follower of Christ, husband to his wife, father to three, a pastor in South Carolina — someone simply trying their best by God’s grace to live out their faith for God’s glory.

Zac, I don’t know you and feel awkward writing this but I wanted to share with others as it blessed and convicted me so much.

Thank you for giving others a glimpse into your life – both it’s beauty and depravity – ultimately pointing to the Grace and Sufficiency of God’s presence in your life.

While we have faith and conviction that you are finally well and whole in every way, I know that your wife, children, family, and church must be grieving and I lift them up in prayer.

Thank you, brother. While we have never met, you are my brother in Christ and I thank you for blessing me with your words including these from one of your blog entries:

I have been feeling pretty weak lately. Chemo continues to take a toll on my body. Fatigue abounds. And through it all, the pain of the tumors in my abdomen is constant. I do not know how to quantify or qualify the pain except to say that the persistence of it has left me with a sort of numbness to it. This is good in that the pain is not at the forefront of my thoughts, although it can be with very little summoning.

Another emotion I feel a lot of is excitement. There is so much to do this month; there is so much coming in 2010. I am super excited about some fun things happening with my family and my job at NewSpring in the coming months.

And then the two emotions of excitement and weakness collide. This weakness has led me to feel some angst about my health. Why can’t I be healthy? I need more (better?) health. I also feel bitter about my time. I need more time. And of course I need more money to help facilitate all these things. I need more. I cannot do my job if I am only working 75% of the time. I cannot accomplish all the things that need to be done if I don’t live for a long time. I cannot subsidize this stuff without more. I definitely need more. I can’t do this.

And then God spoke to me. He said, “It is sufficient.” I wrestled with Him on that for a while. But He kept saying it: “It is sufficient.” It is enough. He is enough. I have enough health to do what God wants me to do. I have enough time to do His will. I have enough money to obey Him. I was reminded of this verse; Paul pleaded with God to take away his pain, and this was the response:

2 Corinthians 12:9 — But [Jesus] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

God is good. And He is enough. And what He has given me is enough.

I have enough. And I can obey.

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9 Responses

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Eugene Cho. Eugene Cho said: I wish I had known Zac Smith (@zacjs8). His story – in life & in passing – pointed to God's grace: http://bit.ly/9mrITz […]

  2. gar says:

    What an amazing story… condolences to his family.

    For those interested in celebrating the lives of those with cancer and supporting research for its treatment, the American Cancer Society has annual “Relay for Life” events in our area over the next few months:

    http://www.relayforlife.org/relay/findevent

  3. Jaycee says:

    I watched this video about a while back on another blog and it made me wince. I know God knows best. He always does. In our afflictions, we still need to shine.

  4. john says:

    I was having a horrible weekend following having to have to pay for accidental damage I caused (which will be a very hard financial strain for me) and receiving a letter from American Red Cross saying their test results indicated that I am HIV positive (which I really, really hope it was a false test result) and I am not legally allowed to ever donate blood ever again…

    Thank you so much Eugene for this video, watching this helped me emotionally so much in my current, shaken stage. God bless you and Pastor Smith.

  5. dmbaldwin says:

    Hey Eugene,
    I read about Zach on Perry Noble’s blog this morning. What a story! Another take on the sufficient idea. If we are following strong after God and doing His work and ministry. It is sufficient. We don’t need any more time. He will say to Zach just as He will say to Billy Graham, “Well done.” What Zach did was sufficient to please God. He had enough time.
    Lord bless Zach’s family. My Dad died when I was nine. I understand the loss of a dad when you’re young.
    Thank you for the post.
    Blessings,
    Dave

  6. Jerry says:

    Eugene,

    I see on Zac’s blog that he died a week ago Monday – a day after you posted the video clip.

    Jerry
    Pastor First Baptist Church of Boone, Iowa

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One Day’s Wages

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As I soaked in this breathtaking sunrise this morning above the clouds, I felt compelled to pray for so my places in America and around the world that are experiencing such pain, heartache, injustice, and violence. At times, it feels so overwhelming but in prayer, I was reminded of these words from John 16:33. As we keep striving, working, hoping, preaching, loving, truthtelling, reconciling, repenting, forgiving, dismantling, peacemaking, Kingdom building...may we fix our eyes on Christ: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 Grateful for a very full weekend of ministry and preaching in Toronto, Canada (GTA). Such a privilege to partner with @worldvisioncan @wvcollective to advocate for the most vulnerable around the world. God is so gracious. A true honor to meet and encourage local pastors, lecture at Tyndale University & Seminary (photo), and preach at Richmond Hills Community Church, Compass Point Bible Church, and New City Church. Thank you, Lord, that you use broken and imperfect people like me to speak of Your love. Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it. I don't care if it sounds mushy but sunsets are one of my love languages. Seoul, Korea was amazing but WOW...what a breathtaking welcome back sunset by Seattle. Not ready to let go of summer.

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