VOYAGE of the Starship GENESIS three-seven


Passenger Log Star Date 5 March 2023

This amazing ‘space hourglass’ seen deep in space is brought to us by the James Webb Space Telescope. Anyone who believes they have a ‘handle’ on life, on what it’s all about, where we are, where we go, what it all means outside of God’s Word has never truly looked into space. How can anyone look upon something as infinite as space and not believe God exists. The Creator and Divine Ruler, who has placed it all in order and knows every name of every star; He knows your name too. He knows everything about you, about me. That is a bit scary if we don’t understand that God is holy yet merciful, full of grace yet not clearing the guilty. I wondered, as I first took on the role of someone with a terminal illness, how knowing that I now have a more definite time in which I will see Christ face-to-face would change me. It being no longer a nebulous, someday but rather, soon, I expected it would draw me closer. It would make me more willing to seek His will. It would allow me to be more like Christ.

Those “It” statements were all completely out of sync with what was coming my way. Maybe for some the ‘It’ statements ring true right away. God bless them. For me, whether it was a combination of social connections, medicine, stress, lack of faith, over-confidence in my own Christ-like walk, or just plain sin – whatever the reason(s) none of those ‘It’ statements have been true, at least not yet. I say yet because I am a work in progress. That, I can assure you. I didn’t grow closer. I ran away. It did not make me seek His will it made me question it. I hate the spiral it put me into. That is just the truth. Living with a terminal illness is not always sunshine and lollipops of the stalwart Christian being able to withstand all for the cause of Christ. It can be, rather, the exhausted, discouraged, man who loves God, truly within his heart but who cannot draw enough breath to face another day.

The Potters’ Field

But there is something amazing about being that exhausted. I was reminded of it as I was clearing out my study in anticipation of our selling this house and moving. I came across a broken piece of pottery I picked up, if I remember correctly, in an open field somewhere in the Holy Land. I thought of the Potter’s Field where broken pottery was discarded and where Judas, the traitor, was reported to have hung himself. You see a potter remolds and reshapes clay over and over, smashing it

Potter’s Field

down and remaking it into something useful and beautiful. But once the clay is cooked and hardened, when broken it is good for nothing. I’ve kept that broken piece of pottery on my bookshelf for many years. Just a few days ago was the day it was called on to speak to me. How hard had I let myself become? Was I now useless to the Potter or was I not hardened so much that He could not add some water and make me malleable again? I could not help but cringe to think the water could be God’s tears over me and the tears my loved ones have shed because of me, or even my own tears. The piece of pottery was the first item to be packed to go to my next study with the awareness that God can do anything. Still, within our Christian communities we have a problem with facing such times of struggle.

That uncomfortable truth is not well accepted (if it’s accepted at all) inside a ‘Christian community.’  Dwight Carson wrote, “ The only army that shoots its wounded is the Christian army…”  Check out his article at: and Carson is only one of many who have echoed such strong criticism.

This is a summary of his experience.

  1. We don’t have emotional problems. If any emotional difficulties appear to arise, simply deny having them.
  2. If we fail to achieve this first ideal and can’t ignore a problem, strive to keep it from family members and never breathe a word of it outside the family.
  3. If both of the first two steps fail, still don’t seek professional help.

It seems that it was the Christian Communities who first adopted “don’t ask, don’t tell” when it comes to  struggling as a Christian. The true Christian was to be marching ever onward, facing all turmoil with banner held high, and no moments of doubt or pain. Thankfully for this Christian who did not fit that description there was help.

The strength of family… once again if one imagines a pristine family gathering where everyone joins hands and sings Kumbaya while encouraging one another with songs and hymns and biblical passages, that may be true for some, but it hasn’t been the standard response here. There is prayer but it has been honest, hurting people reaching out for comfort. Tired, hurt, and heartbroken people who feel betrayed by life or who just don’t understand why all this is happening and how could it go so wrong… those are the questions that are heard though never spoken. I have considered whether my focus is wrong that if I were truly a man of faith I would accept it with joy as the Bible says we should for it can bring glory to God. James, the brother of Jesus wrote, Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” Please note that a clear reading of the text indicates that it very well should create those things but it is AFTER you go through the testing!

I also recall how in Christ’s prayer in the garden before his arrest, even though He closed with ‘not my will but Yours’ before that Jesus poured out the pain and anguish of His soul to the point of bloody tears of grief. Christ was asking God that He not have to go through it all. That is our human intercessor who understands what it is to be weak and worn, to be exhausted, and to be overwhelmed by everything going on around us.

David, a man after God’s own heart cried out to God while he was in the wilderness, surrounded by enemies, and completely exhausted. He begged God, asking “How long?” He too eventually came to focus on God’s goodness but it wasn’t his first reaction.  

“On the eve of his own cancer surgery, John Piper writes about cancer (Don’t Waste Your Cancer) we don’t see how it is God’s good plan for us and a hope-filled path for making much of Jesus.”[i]  Whether that was his first reaction, or just that night or while he was knelt, weak with trembling arms, grasping the toilet bowl while vomiting because of the chemo, weak and tired, I don’t know. Has it remained consistent? I have no idea, but I know for me, it has not been a straight path but more of a ride on the Dragon’s Tail[ii].

In this family, among the motley gathering is a childlike love that is worth holding on to and so I grab on a little tighter and wait for the next asteroid to hit the Voyager as I try to stay on my feet.  My immediate family is an integral part of this support system but, for now, allow me to focus on these younger ones. The strength and love of these young people around me are the visage of God’s love that is keeping me able to fight. Thank God for young grandchildren who know only perfect love who squeal with

delight at the sight of Papaw or who run to my arms and ‘squeeze the stuffing out of me’ and thank God for older grandchildren who understand that something is terribly amiss, but they see only the good in the old man they love so much and they continue to love me with everything within them. The strength of their love holds the helm fast and responds to the Captain of this ship they know as Jesus and by them I am held within reach. The rollercoaster of this past twelve months was considerably more than the first year of my encounter with this disease.

I cannot begin to fully describe what this past twelve months has been like. What I would ask of brothers and sisters in Christ is to ask Him to give you grace as you deal with those who are walking a similar path as me and not only for them for but their families. We aim to be Christ-like yet even Jesus had anguish over what was to come. We want to be a man after God’s own heart like David who also begged to know how long God would leave him in such a bad way. We would love to have the courage of a John Piper even as we wonder if Piper wrote everything he encountered or only what he felt would be best received and used by the church community?

Allow me to digress fifty years… to an amazing lady I will never forget. Mrs. Audra Kinch.

Beware… the Ides of March et tu Brute? The finest characteristic of a great teacher includes a passion for their subject matter and love for (tolerance of?) their students. Mrs. Audra Kinch was my Latin teacher for two years. Her passion for her topic was unsurpassed. So, what does that have to do with now? The title of this longer than normal VOYAGE is A Prelude to the Ides of March.


The Ides of March varied with the Roman calendar but we think of them today more simply as the middle days of the month. There seemed to be an extraordinary number of spectacular assassinations around that time. One year it was Cleopatra’s turn and as we know, Julius Caesar got the point of the soothsayer’s warning on March 15, 44 BC. The soothsayer brings us full circle back to my medical tests this past week. Before the test results came, I could report that I am feeling much more tired, markedly shorter of breath and emotionally just beginning to get my stuff coagulated. If you ask, ‘How are you?’ That is my short answer.

Julius Caesar’s soothsayer was believed to be a haruspex. He was one who would attempt to divine the future by reading natural substances. Similar to the gypsy fortune teller who reads the cards, the lines in your hands or the tea leaves, the haruspex examines the entrails and the livers of dead animals. Now that is not a job you see on Angie’s List very often! One could only imagine their union logo. My own set of readers of my insides, my lungs and pulmonary system as compared to my entrails and liver have provided me with my own glance into the future. So what will the ides of March mean for me and my family?

My last reading was in November and at that time my lung function was at about 63%. That is the ability for the lungs to exchange the bad air for good air.

My overall lung capacity was still in a decent range so that was not as  concerning. The lung capacity is not the issue as much as the ability of my lungs to function getting out the bad, used up air and bringing in fresh oxygen. Thankfully my lung function, although it decreased more, it did not decrease as fast as it might have.  

What does that mean? I am declining but not as rapidly as it might be as far as those numbers are concerned. Which seems to indicate that the Ofev is working, slowing things down a little.  

It means that we can reduce my steroids by another small amount so that is always good news.

It means that I am still not a candidate to be put on the lung transplant list because I’m not bad enough yet. At the current rate of … how best to say it… the progression of the disease or the decline in my lung function the Doc isn’t ready to estimate when I might be considered for a transplant. It takes about a year to do all the testing to prepare for a transplant. We wait.

Regardless of what the soothsayers may say or what my entrails would say if they could talk, I look forward to spring! Spring is one of my three favorite seasons. It is number two right behind summer and a distant third is fall because we know what happens after fall… I expect though to find enjoyment out of each and every day. Let me give you an example from just a few days ago.

I came out of the grocery store with just a few items in my cart. My oxygen was in my backpack and running through the tubing to my nose as usual and it caught the attention of a young mom and her young boy of about 5. As I started to open the door to my truck she said, “Please let us help you load that.” A year ago I would have declined but I have learned that not only am I blessed when people offer to do something for me, I know God blesses them too. The smile on that little boy’s face when he handed me my gallon of milk and I told him thank you was worth every minute. That lady was so very sweet, I wish I knew her name so I could tell her again how much that meant to me. 

I’ll hope to be writing a monograph  soon simply titled, ROCKS. It is not original in the least but it is an extrapolation of an analogy a new friend in the faith shared with me at our lunch meeting a few days ago about our journey when the seas are rough and the waves keep knocking us under. I hope you’ll watch for it. It will be on my other site, for the Ministry Minute.

Thank you for your prayers, your notes, and your kind words. I have always loved a particular set of verses penned by the Apostle Paul. This is my hope for what will be the legacy of my time in this illness, the way in which I may be able to bring glory to God and to make much of Jesus. It comes from 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

God of All Comfort

“3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.”

My prayer is for each of you to be able to receive comfort from Christians when you so desperately need it, and you don’t have to be concerned about letting your ‘guard down’ so other Christians see that you struggle. May you never feel like you have to keep up your ‘Christian face and all is good response’ when brothers and sisters in Christ ask you how you are doing. None of us can share the comfort we get from God if we are such strong Christians we don’t “need it”  like some think we must be. Heaven forbid that when we have received Christ’s comfort we cannot share it with others only because those brothers and sisters are afraid to let us know they need it. Just like the end of Covid, it is time to throw away the masks!  It is way past time for the Christian community to recognize that every single person who claims the Name of Christ has trouble, hard times, hurts, and despair and it doesn’t make them less of a Christian. May those who hurt know that they don’t need to live up to those fake standards, but to Christ’s and He understands a hurt heart, despair, exhaustion, and sadness.

May God bless you as we enjoy SPRING!



Published by docriggs

I am so very blessed. My life goal continues to be a Christ-follower in every way. Of course, my family provides so much support and special people such a M have been huge in bringing my spirits where I can fight!I have over 45 years experience internationally with crisis intervention, law enforcement and military experience, contingency planning and security consulting. I began battling a terminal illness, Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis in February 2021. I’m chronicling my adventure on here through the page titled Voyages of the Starship GENESIS Two Seven. Come on board!

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