Colt McCoy and Matt Carter: "The real win for a man is built on two simple but strategic components—who you trust and who you serve."
What Changed for Me
Think of it this way. If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, how would you spend your last hours?
• Would you watch reruns on TV or spend every second you could with your family?
•Would you daydream about other women or look your wife straight in the eyes and tell her you love her more than anything?
•Would you bury yourself behind the newspaper or sit down with your kids at dinner and point them to Jesus?
•Would you look at porn? Would you cheat on your taxes or talk negatively about your coworkers? Or engage in any number of the sins that so easily entangle us? Or would you strive for Jesus as never before, knowing that you would soon see him face to face?
•Would you read your Bible and pray and live each moment you have left in the conscious presence of God?
God was showing me that there is a direct connection between understanding how short my life is and the urgency in which I would live that life. God wanted to teach me how to number my days, how to know time was short and how not to live in vain. God wanted me to live with holy urgency.
It’s a hard lesson to learn. Three months went by, and it was time for my next round of tests. The night before my tests, I paced around my bedroom. I vented to Jenn about how frustrated I was that I’d done everything I knew how to do, I’d confessed every sin that I’d ever committed, yet God was still not freeing me from this trial. Finally, out of anxiety, exhaustion and nervousness, I lost my cool and yelled at the top of my lungs, “Jennifer, what does God want from me? I’ve done everything I can think of. What is he trying to teach me?”
Calmly, my wife looked at me and said, “Matt, I don’t know what God’s trying to teach you. But I know this: He wants you to trust him.”
The next day I went to the cancer ward and sat in the waiting room, surrounded by dying people. My Bible in my hands, I began reading the story of Jesus on the cross. While Jesus was up there, some guy started mocking him, saying things like “Hey, I thought you trusted God. Why are you on this cross, then? Why don’t you trust him to get you off the cross?” (see Matt. 27:40-43). Right in front of me were the two words my wife had said the night before: trust him. And while I was reading, the answer to why I was still in a place of difficulty hit me like a bolt of lightning. The Holy Spirit impressed these words on my heart so strongly: Sometimes trusting in God means you don’t get to get off the cross.
That was the start of my beginning to understand this strange win that God was pointing me to. When Jesus was on the cross, he was fully trusting God. The cross didn’t look like a win that most people would imagine for someone who was going to save the world. Yet the cross is still exactly what God wanted for Jesus. The nails were in Jesus’s hands for a reason.
Something turned in my heart, and I realized it was true that sometimes trusting God means you don’t get to climb down from your cross. Meaning, whatever difficulty you’re bearing, whatever goal you’re not achieving, staying in that difficulty might be a part of God’s perfect plan for your life. Losing in the eyes of the world just might be success in the eyes of God.
After my second round of tests was done, I went back to my office, got on my knees, looked up at the ceiling and prayed, “Lord, if it’s your will for me to die, I trust you.” I’d said this to him before, but this was the first time I really meant it. I fully surrendered right then. I let go. A peace and confidence came over me like I’d never felt before. Without a shadow of a doubt, I knew that every moment of my life was in God’s hands.
The next day a phone call came. My blood work was normal. My lymph nodes were normal. All my test results were normal. There was no sign of cancer anywhere. As of the writing of this book, I’ve been completely cancer-free for seven years. I don’t know if God healed me miraculously or if I’d never had any more cancer than the appendix tumor. And I’m not saying that if you trust God, he’ll solve your problems in the same way my cancer was taken away from me. But this is what I know for sure: God brought me to a place where I said, “If you want to keep me on the cross, then I trust you.”
Can you say that about your life? No matter what happens—good or bad—can you fully trust God? That’s the truth that we men so desperately need to learn.
Yes, we want to succeed. We want so badly to reach our goals, and our goals are not wrong at all. In fact, they’re usually very good goals. But if you don’t achieve what you want to, can you still say that you trust God no matter what?
That’s a question Colt and I worked on together for more than a year.