December 30, 2013
Illness doesn’t discriminate. Around the world countless lives are wrecked by health problems. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do or even whose you are. Such as in the case of Luke Smallbone… One-half of for King & Country, Luke was struck with an illness that could have ended his career or worse. But it was in the midst of this darkness, that Luke experienced something he never had felt as purely, desperately and intensely—hope. Lusk shares the journey and lessons learned below.
When I look back over the past year it’s certainly been a whirlwind of sorts. On Halloween 2012 I was diagnosed with a digestive disorder that quite frankly, I didn’t take that seriously, and sadly wasn’t informed about the severity that could take place. I left the doctors not thinking much about my health, jumped in a van and headed out on our first headlining tour.
From the fall tour into December shows, time kept flying by, and I wasn’t getting any better. I finally came home before all the Christmas festivities to await our firstborn’s arrival. The whirlwind just kept coming! I made it home just in time for my wife’s water to break. My little boy was born on December 19th, which as we all know, certainly changes life (in the best possible way), but also takes a lot of energy that I started to realize, I didn’t have. I had become so distracted with work that I didn’t realize my health was diminishing.
About four months ago I got down to around 125 pounds. I had hit my lowest of lows, and for a guy that is 6’4 and that frail, I truly looked like I just got out of a concentration camp. This obviously led to needing to come off the road and shut it down for a while to focus on my health. Up until that time I had never struggled with a serious health issue and I found it very difficult to be still and rest. Little did I know that this would be one of the best things to ever happen to me. God never wastes a pain. Even when we are still and when the “doing” stops, when we feel our weakest and maybe even feel like we have nothing to offer, we can actually hear Him when all that striving has died down. We are loved for not what we “do,” but because we are His children. That’s it. So simple, but so profound…
Throughout this time, I probably experienced the darkest period of my life, as I was in an awful lot of pain and struggled to sleep. I wasn’t able to hold my son, let alone be the father I wanted to be. I wasn’t able to be the husband I wanted to be. I was bed-ridden and being taken care of like I was a child again (talk about humbling). I wondered if I’d be able to be on the road again, let alone perform again. It felt like another lifetime away. On one particular night I cried out to God asking Him why this was all happening. I was in such desperate need of comfort. As God has a way of doing, He turned that moment into a moment I won't forget. I felt him say, Luke, no matter how dark things might be today, no matter how difficult things might become, no matter what you'll face in life, there is always hope in me!
As I write this I'm full of hope and even though I’m not in full remission yet, nor is everything perfect, and there are hard days, God has a way of working with imperfect people and imperfect situations, because our hope is in Him.
I can tell you one thing… I've never been so thankful in my life.
To anyone who might be struggling while reading this, trust me when I say, there is always hope. Sometimes we have to go through the strangest of journey’s to discover real hope. Sometimes journeying into those depths gets you ready to climb great heights. Whatever journey you’re on right now, hold on to hope.
Caroline Lusk is editor of CCM Magazine.