What God Did on My Sabbatical by Pastor Kyle Shimazaki

I am deeply grateful of our church’s generosity to our family for my recent sabbatical spanning from October to early January. Thanks, Evergreen SGV. I was able to vacation with Carol and the family, be home with the kids, read a lot of books, run L.A.’s half marathon, hear God’s calling, be equipped, and experience miracles. Each morning, I would thank God for the sabbatical and ask Him to draw me closer to Jesus. God used the time to grow Carol and me closer together as friends and deepened my relationship with Jesus Christ through an unexpected trial involving cancer…let me explain.

Early in December, my dentist requested a biopsy after finding irregular cells under my tongue. I was sent directly to the oral surgeon who took samples of tongue tissue to test for oral cancer. The three weeks waiting results was a trial, yet God used it to draw Carol and me closer to the Lord.

Carol and I had many talks during this time about concerns, feelings, and where our hope was in light of the possibility of receiving the news of cancer. I shared we are not to give the doctor the power to bring us relief and joy through a positive diagnosis because it also gives him the power to crush our spirit if he delivers bad news. “Do not trust in princes, in mortal man.” Ps 146:5. I knew we would praise God good news or bad news since our faith was in the character and love of Jesus Christ, not results. We realized it would have been difficult but we believed God’s grace is sufficient for us. By grace we chose not to find our hope in good news, rather to make Christ in us our hope of glory. Col 1:27

By the grace of God and many of your prayers, God gave me strength to have total peace.

God’s peace came from placing our entire hope in Jesus Christ alone, trusting His unconditional love for me. Even though we were preparing for a difficult journey I believed whatever God did would be for His glory and my good.

Three weeks later, the oral surgeon shared good news that I did not have oral cancer. The mass under my tongue was tonsillar tissue, which made its way to the front of my mouth—strange, but harmless. Praise God!

What difficulty are you suffering in? Be encouraged God is working in you to grow your faith. By His grace you will have the strength to make Christ in you the hope of glory. You are not alone, Jesus is always faithful.

His grace alone,

Pastor Kyle