Who Are You Really? No, But Seriously. || Tim Meier

Posted on October 22nd, by Tim Meier in Heart. 22 comments

Who Are You Really? No, But Seriously. || Tim Meier

We were in the car by 4:45 a.m. Getting up early isn’t too hard for me but anytime you’re driving before 5, it just feels wrong. This time I wasn’t driving to the airport to leave for Asia or Africa or Europe. We were driving to the hospital.

Have you ever heard character defined as, “who you are when no one else is looking”? That’s not bad. I would add something like, “how you act around people you know can’t do anything for you.”

But, maybe more than, I’ve been thinking, “Character is who you are when everything is going wrong.”

My dad can’t eat. I’ve shared his story on this blog  before.  It’s been pretty rough for about 2 years and just recently we got the call that they would need to do emergency surgery to remove more of the disease. My sister got in her car. I got on a plane- All hands on deck.

So, we’re riding to the hospital at 4:45 a.m.; very few people on the road in Cleveland this early. I’m 33 and my sister is 30, but we are sitting in the back seat like we’re driving to church 25 years ago. It’s rare to be just the four of us these days without our spouses and kids. Mom is at the wheel and dad starts in with his typical reflections about life and family and God. A friend recently told me that I talk a lot early in the morning, especially on trips, so I start thinking this is where I get it.

 We’re driving to the hospital to have the doctors operate on my dad but this isn’t like getting your tonsils out. 10 inches of staples will grace his stomach, a gut that is already broken. Who knows how this is going to go. But dad keeps saying, “We have SO much to be thankful for. Don’t forget guys, Jesus told us that in this life we would have problems but we don’t have to be afraid, He’s overcome the world.” And, “everybody, do you know how many times the Bible says ‘do not be afraid’? 119 times! That’s a lot. We don’t need to be afraid. God is so present.”

Then dad leads us in prayer, worshipping God for who he is, saying things like, “I surrender to you, we surrender to you.” He talks to God like He’s right in the car with us, like it’s two friends sitting down for coffee and smiling at one another.

Before his surgery dad is in the prep room singing. He sings 6 or 7 songs, one of which he wrote himself when I was a little kid. “O be not anxious for anything…”

He gets through the surgery but his stomach looks super gnarly. We walk tentatively into the recovery room and he’s smiling, all drugged up. He says, “it hurts pretty badly but thank the Lord, I’m feeling alright, and I made it through the surgery.” He says a bunch of goofy stuff about how he shouldn’t be operating a snow blower and things like that, but mixed in he’s singing lines from these 80’s choruses. “I will cast all my cares upon you. I lay all my burdens down at your feet. And anytime, I don’t know, what to do, I just cast all my cares upon you.”


OK DAD. It’s cool. No one is around, you’re literally dying, you’ve got pain meds, just let it rip. Let’s hear some swear words. Be “normal.”


But this is his normal. This is it. This is who he really is. And so I’m standing in the recovery room convicted. How is he not feeling selfish? How is he still just thinking about Jesus instead of cursing? And then it dawns on me: This is what a transformed heart looks like. This is what it means to follow God in the same direction for a LONG TIME.


So, I’m asking myself some questions, and I guess I’ll invite you into the self-talk.


Who am I really? I mean, deep down, when no one else is around, when everything is going wrong, when I’m in pain, when I’m angry. Do I change? Or does the love for Jesus and the commitment to Him just flow out of every pore?


Who do I want to be? You know, when Jesus calls us to pick up our crosses in Luke 9, it’s fun to respond with, “take me deeper” but it’s a whole other thing to keep the same attitude when we’re suffering. The question is: do we really love Jesus enough to suffer for him and with him?


What needs to change right now? I can tell you one thing, my dad’s response isn’t some fluke. I remember waking up for school and every day I would stumble down the stairs to hear him praying and singing hymns in the dark. Relationships that stand the test of suffering take a lot of work. And, as much as we hate to accept it, they don’t happen over night. So, it may start with cultivating intimacy and awareness a lot more than I’m (we’re) used to.


My dad is still in the hospital. This story is not done. But, I’ll tell you one thing, he’s still singing (and witnessing to the nurses and doing other embarrassing things)…

Tim Meier Tim Meier is the International Director of Envision (a young adult ministry in 14 countries with the C&MA). Previous to this Tim served 4 years with his wife and boys as a Pastor in Paris, France and 5 years in the Greater NYC area. He loves to run, read, watch good movies, root for his loveable loser Cleveland sports teams, and play with his boys Blaine and Jude.
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22 Responses to “Who Are You Really? No, But Seriously. || Tim Meier”

  1. Shelly Hronec says:

    Thanks for sharing. I met your father when Hope Church was just starting and have been following his story through Grace CMA. What an inspiration to anyone suffering anything! Praying for your family and praying that many lives turn to Christ because of his testimony.

  2. John Arnold says:

    Thank you Tim. How the Lord uses everything to strengthen us. Amazing.

  3. Andrew Schaeffer says:

    What a great tribute to your dad. Please give him my greetings and assure him of our love and prayers. He was a wonderful ordination mentor to me.

  4. Jonathan Schaeffer says:

    So moved by your piece here, Tim. Thanks for honoring your Dad like this–he’s the real deal, and the impact of his example has global ripples. This line grabbed me: “Character is who you are when everything is going wrong.” I’ll be wrestling with that…asking the Lord to keep shaping me.

  5. Donna Coe says:

    Your dad has been such an inspiration to me. He is such a kind, gentle man. I’m sorry to say that he and I had our differences at one time, but I have learned since then what a great man he is. Praying that his caregivers at the hospital will see his lover for Jesus, and that many will turn their lives over to Him. This message really has me thinking about the impact that my life has on others. Thank you so much.

  6. Anonymous says:

    O have not met your father but a Believer & am just out of hospital (5th time this year) so feel some of same things your dad does. All 4 of my children are Christians and their children are as well–my problem is waiting on the Father to take me home.

  7. Nancy N says:

    Hi Tim! Thank you for sharing.

    Your dad is an amazing man. He has bkessed many. He led me to Christ 3 1/2 years ago at Hope Church … I’ll never forget it. He probably remembers it too. :). I was chuckling throughout you article because I can totally see your dad singing hymns of praise during his extremely difficult time. He’s such an inspiration and brings joy to my heart heart knowing his faith is so strong. He is a true disciple of God. Much love and prayers your way.

  8. Mark says:

    Wow. True faith. Thanks for sharing Tim. Just wow.

  9. Teague says:

    Challenging, wonderful, and completely beyond my ability. I’m praying for the Lord’s work in my heart and in the hearts of those that are His!

  10. Bob Sanford says:

    Thanks for the honest insights into your journey and your dad’s heart for God. What a wonderful word. What we do today matters in ways we cannot comprehend. But much much more than that is the relationship with The Lord Jesus Christ waiting for us. What a tremendous hope! Thanks for reminding me.

  11. Marni says:

    Just do me a favor and keep writing such trcenhant analyses, OK?

  12. Jerry gullion says:

    Shared hospital room with your dad Oct 2014 amazing person made a great impact on my spiritual life

  13. Hi Jeri,I’ve got your back. I’m starting to enjoy assigning the spammers to the spam fle, also the fact that it takes me one second but it has to take them longer to compose their trash that is thrown away LOL.:-)Lizzy

  14. Mattingly says:

    You’re a real deep theirnk. Thanks for sharing.

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