On Thanksgiving morning 2009, Matt Chandler got out of bed, poured his coffee, fed his daughter, and collapsed. Doctors would discover a malignant brain tumor, launching a scary season of suffering for him and his wife, Lauren. The couple recently sat down with Mark Mellinger to discuss what they've learned, how they've grown, and how they prioritize their time.
"God has grown in my heart a gratitude I'd never really experienced before," Lauren shares. Rather than producing resentment, suffering has deepened her gratefulness for each day with Matt. Most of all, though, it's made her thankful the Lord would "love me enough to understand suffering personally—and that he lovingly appointed me to go through a season where I didn't have anything but him."
That initial period of agonizing uncertainty and intensive treatment, Matt recalls, shifted his grasp of God's sovereign goodness from the intellect to experience. "Now with a great deal of confidence," he says, "I can talk about 'the peace that passes all understanding.'"
In terms of their marriage, the cancer battle has forcefully "dialed us in to the here and now," Matt explains. "It's strengthened what I thought was strong already." It's also provided a unique platform, he says, for Lauren to serve with countercultural, gospel-reflecting love. "There's nothing sexy about going through cancer treatments," he admits. "The way Lauren has cared for me during the worst times demonstrates a love of the will rarely esteemed in our culture today."
Given the preciousness of time, Mellinger also asks the Chandlers how they seek to manage their busy schedules. More specifically, how does Matt decide to what to say yes and to what to say no?
As you watch, be encouraged by what God has taught the Chandlers over the past three-and-a-half years, and pray for Matt's continued health in the months and years to come.
Matt and Lauren Chandler from The Gospel Coalition on Vimeo.
Matt Smethurst serves as associate editor for The Gospel Coalition. He and his wife Maghan have two children and live in Louisville, Kentucky, where they belong to Third Avenue Baptist Church. You can follow him on Twitter.