written by Mike Teston, Christ in the Smokies committee member and alumnus
I recently read a blog with a strange title, “God of the Mu.” In the Greek alphabet, mu is the letter corresponding to ‘M.’ You are probably familiar with the letters alpha and omega, the ‘A’ and ‘Z.’ But what about the mu in the middle of the alphabet? The writer’s point confirmed something I have been trying to hold onto: God was Lord over my beginning, will be Lord over my destiny, and is Lord over everything in the middle.
My current mu began on August 11, 2021, when I had a routine surgery for a benign growth in my salivary gland. The surprise came on August 29 with the words chronic lymphocytic leukemia in the pathology report. My response to the doctor was, “Well, I was certainly not expecting that.” We usually aren’t expecting “that,” are we?
Now that my mu includes cancer, I am left with some choices: walk away from my faith; become bitter, resentful, angry with God for allowing this; or follow Jesus and say, “Not my will, but yours be done.” As of today, I have been able to hold on to option three because options one and two ultimately don’t make sense. They would only make it worse for me, my wife, my kids, my grandkids, and everyone close to me. And it doesn’t seem wise to me to distance the Great Physician from my cancer.
I have been a believer in Jesus for over 50 years. Many times, God has not done what I wanted Him to do, when I wanted Him to, or how I wanted Him to do it. But He has consistently proven to be reliable, on time, perfect, gracious, gentle, patient, merciful, good, and much more. This is no exception.
When my surgeon read the diagnosis and heard my reaction, he responded with, “I think God was watching out for you, because often this cancer goes undetected.” My next words had to be from God, because they surprised even me. “He’s been watching out for me for a long time, and I am not about to go sideways with him now.” I am so grateful for the peace and absence of fear/anger/resentment that can’t be explained apart from God.
Christ in the Smokies Passage to Manhood retreats are designed to deepen the father-son relationship and the Father-son relationship. The retreats are great fun, the adventures are memorable, the stories are inspiring. But more valuable are the faith-deepening insights and experiences. Today, my faith remains stable because of experiences like CITS.
What about you? If Jesus is your Savior, you have had your alpha experience. You will also have an omega experience when you enter eternity. But today you live in your mu. Today could include a bad path report, a devastating phone call, a meeting with the boss, a broken relationship, a canceled contract, a betrayal. Mu’s come in a variety of ways. Jesus’ words are inescapable: “In this life, you will have trouble.” This isn’t a doomsday prophecy; it’s just a reality of life.
Your schedule is probably packed. Your funds may be limited. You may be an introvert. You may not like the outdoors. You may have a dozen legitimate excuses for not getting away to deepen your faith. But mu experiences don’t care about packed schedules. The time to prepare is before they come. You will need it. Your son will need it. And you both will be stronger for it.