June 6, 2013

Some Thoughts about Waiting, cancer…and Christ.

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I could tell by the look on his face that something was terribly wrong. My heart began to pound as he stumbled over his words and struggled to share the news. Countless thoughts erupted from every corner of my mind in anxious anticipation as I waited — not knowing what to expect…

But I never expected to hear the “C” word.

Through one connection or another we’ve all been touched and terrified by this fearsome foe.

Cancer.

We don’t like the way it sounds rolling off the tongue. It’s the demon that takes loved ones causing unimaginable pain, dread, and anguish. So when he told me, I was shocked and scared. But not for long.

“God is bigger than this.” I said with conviction. “He has your back. He will make a way. This is not too big for Him.”

And yet, as the hours dragged me forward, my mind was assaulted, ambushed on every side with every possible nightmarish thought you can imagine. My spiritual bravado began to falter as the questions loomed like sinister shadows defying my faith:

“How are we going to tell the girls?”

“Who will walk Erin and Camryn down the isle on their wedding day?”

I was already planning the funeral.

It’s crazy, but true. When circumstances beyond our control hit home, our flesh grabs hold of fear.

We’re human.

We realize that we can’t defeat these circumstances so much greater than we are and instinctively run into the gloom even as the radiance of God’s love beckons us to His safe haven. That place where the light of hope is greater than the darkness of our greatest fear and we find rest in the knowledge that even though our circumstances are bigger than we are, God is bigger than they are!

I trust God.

I love Him.

<p”>And although I’m a constant work in progress, I walk by faith and not by sight. But even so, fear tried to have it’s way with me. The enemy of my soul still wants to kill, steal, and destroy. He doesn’t care that I love my husband. He doesn’t think twice about the fact that my daughters need their daddy.

So what do you do?

You have a choice. To trust God with what you don’t know and understand because you believe that He Knows. And because He knows, it doesn’t matter what you (or anyone else) know or don’t know. Your help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He’s the One who watches over you. Over your coming and going, over your every breath — now and forevermore. You choose to trust the One who said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

After the initial diagnosis, we had to go and meet the “C” doctor, the surgeon. I videoed him so that we could capture every single word he said. For over an hour he explained. Words we had never heard of echoed through our minds as he described the worst case scenario and the hope we could hang onto if the cancer was isolated.

And…

 

He said, “Only God really knows for sure what the outcome will be.”

He said “God.”

In the midst of the explaining, the options, the possibilities, and the hard, hard news, he said “God,” and our spirits were lifted and hope renewed. Because he was right — only God knows for sure, and it was enough for me that He knew.

“You’ll need to get more scans to see if the cancer has spread to other areas of your body.”

Scans were done the next day and then the…

Waiting.

Waiting.

Waiting.

Praying.

Wondering.

Hoping.

Worrying.

Trusting.

Weeping.

And in the midst of the praying, crying, not sleeping, reading verse after verse… God spoke life, taking fear captive…

“You’re not waiting on a diagnosis. You’re not waiting on a doctor. You’re waiting on ME!”

Oh my…

EXACTLY!

AMEN!

And I recall the WORDS of truth He has so graciously hidden in my heart:

“Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” (Psalm 27:14)

And..

“We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, LORD, even as we put our hope in you.” (Psalm 33:20-22)

“Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” (Isaiah 30:18)

And what about this…

“I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD. (Lamentations 3:24-26)

We wait on HIM, because in all things HE KNOWS.

And oddly, yet remarkably, it’s in the wrestling with the unknown, crying out in the midst of fear where it seems He draws us deeper still into His grace and mercy. That place where darkness flees because the radiance of His light cannot be dimmed.

Where hope conquers fear.

Where faith defeats doubt.

Where, in the failure of all flesh, all human strength, even all Christianity — Christ reveals Himself in a depth and reality yet unprecedented.

And we realize, we could never know Him who is life near as intimately, nor learn to face evil and not fear it, if He hadn’t allowed us to walk through the dark valley of the shadow of death. For it is only through His cross, His suffering, that hope can be found in our suffering.