David Wenzel lives and works in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Today, he’s an Idea Architect for his content development firm RobinHood Ink. He’s also one of 6 contributors for the new book “Inciting Incidents” by Moody Publishing Company.
In 2009, David was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, yet he continues to fight on with a faith in a God who heals. Prepare to be challenged and encouraged by his thoughts on faith, suffering, and the Millennial generation.
#LF: How has your diagnosis changed your own relationships with God and others.
I must say that I thought the hardest part would be the beginning after the diagnosis and then my relationships would unfold in a much more simple and beautiful way. They didn’t. The first few months I was surrounded by a lot of love. Things were simple. And later on the relationships got complicated.
At first, even the opportunity of another day really excited me. But right now, it’s different. I suppose that after the excitement / trauma / immediate actions take place, it all washes away and you realize that it all boils down to you and God, with a little help from whatever honest community you have allowed around you.
The unfortunate thing is that not a lot of people can walk that road with you. It feels pretty lonely. But the people who have made themselves available to me, whether or not they can help, have simply meant the world to me. My family and a few specific individuals continue to be amazing partners in my life, even if we are all a little road weary.
#LF: How do you understand the role of suffering in relation to following Jesus?
If we, as followers of Jesus, continue to think we can avoid suffering in life, we’ll never understand what it’s like to be made weak. If you never know weakness, you’ll never actually appreciate or understand true strength.
If this happens, I think we’re missing out on a huge part of life. In order to know who you are and who God is, life inevitably will reduce you to next to nothing. As long as you are capable of convincing yourself that weakness isn’t an option for you, any progress you can manufacture will be fake and, from my own experience, you’ll begin to slowly isolate yourself from those around you who are actually suffering.
In order to protect yourself from ‘the weak’, you’ll eliminate relationships with others who are struggling and dealing with real life. As far as I can tell, Jesus partnered up with those who were suffering, so I suppose we should to. Even if it’s just sitting alongside them. The great thing about this is that you don’t need to be smart. You just have to be present.
#LF: How do you want to impact the world?
What I want to do the most in the world is where my greatest resistance lies. So, I’m battling every internal enemy I have to make progress in this arena. Eventually I want to tackle the insane concept of having an open and authentic conversation with the Millennial Generation about who we are and discuss the potential of our generation, to better the world as opposed to leaving it in more chaos than we found it, which unfortunately I see as a real possibility.
I know too many people ‘focused’ on Social Justice who, after 10 years, hate themselves or whose ‘good work’ is killing their marriages, and destroying any joy they have in life.
There are too many ‘authentic’ people who are currently developing dual personality disorders ‘online’ and ‘offline’ which is going to send us into a generational tailspin and too many ‘connected’ people that are, statistically, the loneliest people on the planet.
So…there are some tough questions that need to be addressed and I want to facilitate those questions and conversations for my generation. I don’t know exactly what it looks like yet, hence the resistance, but that’s the general horizon I’m riding my horse towards.
#LF: How does your relationship with God affect your ability to influence the world?
This is a tough one for me to answer. I grew up as a Millennial solely focused on “changing/influencing the world”. However, what I’ve realized is that if my actions aren’t based in a true identity of who I am in Christ, whatever results I offer will be mediocre at best and will most likely end up frustrating me. I’ve seen this attitude in myself as well as so many of my peers.
Maybe this is a horrible answer, but right now I’m at a spot where I need to dig down and focus on creating a bigger and stronger spiritual root system. When that happens, when this tree is firmly planted, I’ll adjust to influence the rest of the world. Maybe that’s a little selfish of me, I’m not sure. But I’m trying to use this Wilderness time to create depth. Assuming that goes well, God will eventually use me to create breadth.
Connect with David at his blog www.davidvwenzel.com
And on Twitter: @davidvwenzel