The Story of Diane Willis who went home to be with the Lord on July 2nd, 2006 at the age of 67
I’ve never been much of a risk-taker, but the situation is a little different when it comes to serving God. During our twenty-five years of overseas ministry, my husband Warren and I have worked in all sorts of exotic locations–the Amazon, Mongolia, Guam-Micronesia, India, and Thailand, Philippines, China and more! While in those places, we endured some harsh conditions that would have scared off many people. Yet because we knew God had called us there, it was always fulfilling and exciting to see Him work. Difficult yes, but we knew our lives were in His hands and so maybe my risk tolerance is higher than I think….so long as I know it is God who is leading me into such uncharted territory.
Now I find myself in a more challenging place: cancer. I first entered this area in 1992 with something that seemed so minor, and I thought I would never have to go there again. However, in 2000, I embarked on yet another journey to this land and this time things were a lot more serious than before. Once again, I made it through and hoped that this would be the last trip. For three years it looked like that would be the case.
Then in 2004, I was called back once again and this time I realized it was going to be a one-way trip. Unlike our mission work, I can hardly call what I’m going through right now an adventure. But I have the same sense of assurance that I had on the mission field.
According to my oncologist, my life may wind up being a lot shorter than I had hoped. It is still in God’s hands, and I trust Him to do what’s best with the days He gives me.
One of my regrets is not being able to be that wise, old guru to my family members that I always dreamed of being. Yet my sense of regret has been replaced by something else: a sense of urgency.
As I’ve thought about it, I have realized that living to be eighty or ninety and dispensing wisdom from my rocking chair isn’t the end-all, be-all of life. It’s living each day by taking advantage of every moment to speak life and love to my family, friends, and anyone who crosses my path. I can’t afford to wait until I’m old to say or do these things because that day may never come. If I’m going to be wise and bold, it’s got to be now. So I am saying the things that might have been taken for granted before because I assumed they were understood. I realize that if I don’t say them now, they could be lost forever.
One of the things I most want to share is the difference God has made in my life. Each day with Him has been a fulfilling adventure. I haven’t gained riches or fame as a result of my walk with God, but I have gained a richness of experience and a sense of significance and purpose that is worth far, far more. My life has been full of peace, joy, love, and every other good thing that His Word talks about as having the fruits of God’s Spirit through Jesus Christ. (Galatians 5:22-23) More than anything, I want my family and friends to share in that goodness, to experience the sense of assurance I have that no matter how dark things look, God is always there beside us offering guidance, protection and hope.
Many people are completely wiped out when they get cancer because they try to battle it using only their own resources. I can’t imagine what that must be like….to not know the God of all hope while confronting a life and death illness. I pray my life may serve as an example to others…to encourage them that they don’t have to do it alone. No matter what you are facing–no matter what uncharted territory you have entered–God is right beside you, willing and able to help you in your time of need. All you have to do is ask for His Spirit to live and work through you.
If you would like the Holy Spirit to continually work in your life, why not try this concept of spiritual breathing. This is how it works……..
If you become aware of an area of your life (an attitude or an action) that is displeasing to the Lord, even though you are walking with Him and sincerely desiring to serve Him, simply thank God that He has forgiven your sins – past, present and future – on the basis of Christ’s death on the cross. Claim His love and forgiveness by faith and continue to have fellowship with Him.
If you retake the throne of your life through sin – a definite act of disobedience – breathe spiritually.
Spiritual breathing (exhaling the impure and inhaling the pure) is an exercise in faith that enables you to continue to experience God’s love and forgiveness.
- Exhale – confess your sin – agree with God concerning your sin and thank Him for His forgiveness of it, according to 1 John 1:9 and Hebrews 10:1-25. Confession involves repentance – a change in attitude and action.
- Inhale – surrender the control of your life to Christ, and appropriate (receive) the fullness of the Holy Spirit by faith. Trust that He now directs and empowers you; according to the command of Ephesians 5:18, and the promise of 1 John 5:14, 15.
I encourage you to consciously give spiritual breathing a try. Having God’s Holy Spirit continually influencing and directing you and changing you from within is what God desires and He brings fulfillment and purpose like few have ever experienced.
May God abundantly bless you and your loved ones.
~ Diane Willis
What about you? Are you, like Diane, on a journey you would prefer not to be on. Do you need the supernatural strength that only God can give?
If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, God has given you His Holy Spirit to help you live life according to His perfect plan. Why not pray this simple prayer and by faith invite Him to fill you with His Spirit:
Dear Father, I need You. I acknowledge that I have sinned against You by directing my own life. I thank You that You have forgiven my sins through Christ’s death on the cross for me. I now invite Christ to again take His place on the throne of my life. Fill me with the Holy Spirit as You commanded me to be filled, and as You promised in Your Word that You would do if I asked in faith. I pray this in the name of Jesus. As an expression of my faith, I thank You for directing my life and for filling me with the Holy Spirit. Amen
Diane Willis went home to be with the Lord on July 2nd, 2006 at the age of 67