Experiencing a Miracle – A Review of "Caged In"

Home sweet home

I had just returned from an amazing journey in the mountains at the base of the Himalayas. Some fellow classmates and I had organized a team to visit a small village school that had no clean drinking water. We built them the first of three water cisterns, and by golly, it was holding the water that was being piped to it from a fresh mountain spring. Success!

Exhausted doesn’t begin to describe how I felt when I finally made it back to my apartment after the week’s labor and journey home. After I cleaned up, I sat down, and opened my e-mail.

“It’s from Momma!”, I thought, as I browsed my mid-November messages.

The subject: “Dad”.

“Ooohh, boy. Here we go – what’s he done now?”, I said to myself as I clicked the message to read it.

Hey Sweetie,

Momma began…

I’m not sure if you are getting internet at your new place or whether you are out and about … I wanted to let you know that Dad has been in an accident in Oklahoma.

My heart sank. I couldn’t see the screen anymore – a blur washed over my eyes and I couldn’t bear to read what my mind had already extrapolated had happened.

I took a moment, and began again where I left off.

By all indications right now, Dad is going to be okay. He does have a few injuries, but considering the circumstances we are very blessed to still have him with us.

What-a-range-of-emotions. At this point I needed more than e-mail, so I called home and got as many details as I could from Momma.

Something’s missing

But you know, there’s only so much that can be communicated over such long distance in the midst what had to have been chaos back home. On top of all that, there was absolutely nothing I could do at the time to help with the situation, except pray my heart out for my Dad’s recovery.

God’s calling on my life had landed me in a place of total absence in the story of my Dad’s accident, his miraculous survival, and his tenacious recovery… I missed it… All of it…

I felt so incomplete in terms of being able to relate to what he went through. When I returned to the States in 2008, he’d made astounding progress and had recovered from the accident (for the most part). I didn’t see him when he experienced the hardest times. I didn’t feel his pain. I didn’t experience his emotions. I didn’t watch his progress and witness his setbacks and the emotional and spiritual highs and lows that accompanied being a miracle survivor. I wasn’t there.

Dad’s latest accomplishment

But then my dear Dad went and did something amazing. He wrote a book! “Caged In”, he called it. “Experience the Journey of a Miracle Survivor Fighting the Cages of Life’s Obstacles”.

I was absent in my dad’s story, but I entered it as I turned the pages of his autobiographical work, covering the events of November 2007 and the months following.

From “Pizza Pockets” to “Free to Soar”, you will experience my amazing, miracle of a father in true “Charlie Bancroft” form.

I loved reading his book, not only because it filled in the vast number of gaps I had in relating to his story prior to reading it, but also for these reasons:

  • It’s genuine – you truly get the “Charlie Bancroft experience” – corny jokes and all. Enjoy!
  • It’s relatable – you will relate to something in this book.
  • It gives perspective – As my Mamaw (his mom) says, “If he can survive that, I can survive today!”
  • It’s helpful – My dad worked hard to point out life’s many cages, and he gives practical, God-honoring advice on how to break out of those cages and soar. He provides several “Teachable Moment” segments which accompany his story as well.

For your joy

I commend the book to you for your joy and encouragement. If you’re going through a hard time… If you know someone who’s going through a hard time… “Caged In” is inspirational and motivating in every way.

It can be purchased from his website, or on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle edition.

Thank you, Dad, for the hard work you put in to helping others know the joy you’ve found in Jesus by writing this book and giving him credit and glory for the breaths you’ve been granted to breathe today. Thank you for the insight it gave me into your story. I love you!

Remaining with God = Going with God

1 Corinthians 7:17 , 24(ESV)

17 Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches. … 24 So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God.

It’s my observation that many Christians, perhaps even the majority, perceive an unnecessary difference between two categories of vocation:  “secular” and “sacred”.

One thought of encouragement from Paul in his first letter to Corinth is that we don’t need to make that distinction.  At all.  The Lord has “assigned” his people to various vocations in this life.  Those assignments are “callings”.  Prior to verse 24, Paul makes clear that there are various cultural/ethnic and vocational conditions that people were in when they began to treasure the glory of God in Jesus Christ.  It is in those various situations that Paul says “there let him remain with God”.

So it is my understanding that it is very possible – even essential for the purpose of accomplishing God’s whole purpose in the world, for Christians to be involved in all kinds of jobs and workplaces.

“Remaining with God” carries a new perspective on “Going with God”.  When Christians remain in a particular vocation that is not directly connected to the church’s organizational structure, they don’t just go to work… they go to work “with God” in that they remained in that line of work even after they believed.  You are a “missionary” where you are by virtue of belonging to Jesus.

So, Christian – don’t just do your job.  Do your job “with God”.  Don’t just go to work.  Go to work “with God”.  By remaining in your vocation, you are fulfilling your God-given assignment.  You are working out your calling.  You are “Going with God” just as much as the Christian whose assignment happens to be among the unreached peoples of the world.

 

One clarification – if your assignment is in a vocation not connected to the church’s organizational structure, God has assigned you there not primarily to work to earn to have more for yourself, but to work to earn to give generously to the causes and individuals who are assigned to making others happy in God around the world.  God has designed an awesome partnership between goers and senders.  You’re one, the other, or perhaps even both.  But no obedient Christian can be neither…

Blessed to be a Blessing

“God is not glorified when we keep for ourselves (no matter how thankfully) what we ought to be using to alleviate the misery of unevangelized, uneducated, unmedicated, and unfed millions”.  Desiring God p198

Oh the folly of a doctrine that would enable me to justify spending God-given resources on all kinds of luxurious purchases, believing that I can glorify God by simply being thankful that God gave me so much to buy them with!  Why would Jesus say to me “Sell your possessions, and give to the needy” if that teaching were true?  Doesn’t he teach me to store up treasure in heaven, not crave fleeting earthly possessions that I can’t even take with me when I die??!!

The words of pastor Jeffrey Singletary, Idlewild’s downtown campus pastor when I lived in Tampa, echo in my mind: “You were blessed to be a blessing!” YES!!