Commissioner Steven Hedgren, former territorial commander for the Eastern Territory, accepted an invitation extended by Commissioner Barry C. Swanson, territorial commander, to be the guest writer for the Easter Good News! We hope this piece inspires you.
I have decided to write another book.
I had co–authored Mapping Our Salvationist DNA: Beliefs, Values, Behaviors (2012). But after 37 years of writing sermons, devotionals, and articles, it is about time I shock my freshman–year English professor and do a major work that is beyond anything I’ve done before.
Rather than write a spy novel of international intrigue, or a passionate romance, or a self–help book on leadership (my library is full of such writings that have given me joy and have helped me along the way), my book will be about surprises—God’s surprises.
Surprises such as “We are having another baby!” Or, “I am calling you to become a Salvation Army officer.” Surprises from God can be uplifting or devastating. One thing is always certain: We can never prepare ourselves for God’s surprises. I never thought that, at age 60, I would be surprised to learn that God allowed cancer to enter my body. I thought, How can this happen to me? God’s surprises are very real. And when they come, our faith is tested.
Since receiving my diagnosis 41 months ago, what has surprised me the most has been the power of prayer. Through the years, I have preached about prayer and encouraged people to daily take quality time with God—to go into a quiet place, read His word, meditate, and listen to His voice. Today, God’s surprises reassure me to take my own advice and to know that the power of prayer will get me through cancer.
As word of my battle with cancer reached family and friends, I was overwhelmed by the number of cards, emails, and phone calls of reassurance and prayer support that I received. Word came from all over the world. Now, three and a half years later, I am still receiving notes from people and groups who are praying for me. As I sit in my weekly “chemo chair,” I am amazed at the power of prayer to overcome this unpleasant experience. When I wonder how I am going to make it through the next treatment, I turn to prayer and connect with other believers for a shot of surprising power!
As a result, my diagnosis has changed this past year from “critical” to “chronic.” Despite receiving weekly chemo, I have recaptured a sense of normalcy. Why should I not be surprised at God’s healing power through prayer in my life? That’s what I will write about.
I wonder if He surprises us just to prove His point—that He is ultimately in charge. I think that is what I like best about God.
by Commissioner Steven Hedgren