The Wisdom of Gailen Veurink by Dr. Bob Stouffer

March 30, 2011
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I was so honored and blessed to attend CrossTrainers on Wednesday, March 30, 2011, because God led DMC school parent Gailen Veurink to offer his testimony of faithfulness during his journey through the challenges of cancer.  The Valley Church Chapel was packed with men, and we were ALL greatly impacted by Gailen's message.  Several of us remained until 8:00 a.m. to pray for Gailen, Stephanie, Erika, Grant, and Sarah.  All of the Veurinks were in attendance, and special guests included Gailen's brother from South Dakota, his brother-in-law Darryl DeRuiter (also the Principal of Pella Christian High School), Darryl's sons, and SO MANY friends from Valley Church and Des Moines Christian.

Many of you know the story of Gailen's cancer diagnosis in September, and subsequent treatments, so I won't focus the summary in this e-mail on those details, but I wanted you to know that he applied several wonderful Scriptures, encouraging everyone in attendance (Isaiah 4:10, Psalm 18:1-2, Lamentations 3:22-24, Isaiah 55:8-9, and Zephaniah 3:17). 

Gailen camped on the truth of Psalm 40:1-3 as his "journey verse," offering excellent exposition of the Word:

1I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry.  2He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.  3He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.  Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD."

Gailen commented, "My boldness for Christ has increased greatly in the last six months.  I have a new sense of urgency.  I have a new song in my mouth.  We're all in slimy pits.  We all need God.  We need to share with others how God has pulled us out of the slimy pit.  Medically, there have been no answers.  There is no cure.  Cancer is ugly and dark, but we want God to use this cancer for beauty and His glory.  It's up to God.  I live under the sovereignty of God.  God CAN heal me.  Pray for a miracle.  I want to lead and love my family.  I want to make a bigger impact on the world for God.  I want to proclaim His name and do His work.  I am a blessed man.  God is good.  He will never forsake us."

That message, in and of itself, would have certainly been enough, but, then, Gailen somehow found the strength, and he held the audience in the palm of his hand with 8 pieces of wisdom which have come to him as a result of this cancer:

  1. I'm totally dependent upon God for everything -- every breath, thought, shower, and getting up from the couch.  I need God.  That's easy to forget when you're healthy.  Acknowledge your dependence on the Lord every day.
  2. Don't be complacent in living the life you've been given.  We grow up.  We go to school.  We graduate.  We marry.  We have kids.  We raise our kids.  They leave home.  It's you and your wife.  You retire.  You enjoy your grandkids.  You live to 80.  Be careful with that kind of thinking.  Don't wait for opportunities.  You may not have another year.  Don't put important things off.  At 40, think about your legacy.
  3. I can't praise God only when things are good; He deserves our praise 24/7.  The God who has blessed me has also allowed this cancer.  We serve a perfect God, and He deserves our praise ALL of the time.
  4. God is in control and sovereign, which gives me peace.
  5. Strive to live a life of significance.  Don't coast through life.  Be intentional and strategic about carrying out all of your roles in life.  Honor your wife and children.
  6. Remember what is most true about you.  Cancer is not what is true about Gailen Veurink.  What is most true of Gailen is that he is a child of God.  Cancer is a thief.  It takes away.  It's brutal.  That's not who I am.  My identity is in Jesus Christ.  This life is temporary.  Let's not get hung up on the temporal.  Think of the eternal.
  7. All of your days are numbered.  You're all going to die, or the Lord will come back.  Make the most of each day that you're given.  Every day is a gift from God.
  8. Honor and glorify God in ways that you are leading people to Jesus Christ.  Live well, and finish strong.  I'm trying to do both.  All of you guys should do both.  Please pray for me and my family.  Be men of God in your homes and communities.  There is so much impact potential in this room.

I hope you have appreciated reading these words as much as I appreciated hearing from Gailen directly and then transcribing his thoughts in this summary.  I was greatly impacted by the powerful testimony and wisdom of Gailen Veurink on Wednesday.