I was moved to do a little throwback Thursday post. God led me to my journal post dated May 16, 2013. Someone needs this today. Maybe you.
4 days until surgery. Nine weeks after diagnosis, I will have a radical prostatectomy. Try saying that 3 times quickly. During the last three weeks, my emotions have simply blended into a fog. But fear has given way to resolve and anxiety has given way to that "peace that is beyond human understanding."
As I approach "C Free Day" (Cancer-Free), let me pass on some things that I have learned over the last 2 months. Things that have renewed my passion, reaffirmed my values and reordered my priorities.
1. This hasn't caught God by surprise. There is no sunrise that He has not already seen. No road that He has not already traveled. No valley that He has not walked. No mountaintop that He has not traversed. HE IS GOD! Take a moment right now. Leave the blog and turn in a Bible to Psalm 139 and read it slowly, deliberately. Whatever you're facing, He's known about it before you ever left your mother's womb. So as you face your giant, navigate your storm, or walk that valley, just remember! He knows, He cares, and He's in charge.
2. God does NOT condemn our fear or anxiety. I wish that I could tell you my great faith cast out my fears when I heard the words, "You have cancer." It didn't. My wife was sick in bed when I received the diagnosis. How would I tell her? How would I tell my kids? Why now? I'm not even 60 yet. There were questions, concerns, uncertainties. AND, there were some regrets and unfulfilled dreams and hopes. I have to confess that there were many moments of fear and anxiety. And God took me a verse that I've loved for years. Psalm 103:14 -- "For He knows how weak we are; He remembers that we are only dust."
God, my Father knows and understands my fear and anxiety and offers Himself as the Answer.
3. God's desire is to use these kinds of things to shape us into the image of Jesus. Sometimes these things are used to correct us. Sometimes He uses them to redirect us. Sometimes He will use them to convert us. He always uses them to teach us. And ultimately, He will use them to prepare us for future service or ministry to others. Romans 8:28 is a well-known verse in Christian circles, often quoted to give us hope in the midst of difficulty. But Romans 8:29 really needs to be linked with that promise. We do know that God works in all things for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. But He works in those things (good AND bad) to make us more like His Son, our Lord Jesus.
4. God's power is always best demonstrated in our weakness. That's Paul's words in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 Americans are, culturally speaking, prone to be "in charge." We are control freaks and when a situation is out of our control, it causes stress, anxiety, and a host of emotional responses. Paul would have done well in America. But what he learned about weakness is simply this --- when we are weak, that's when God is strongest in our lives. Faith really is all about letting go and letting God. When the situation is out of our control, it's good to have intimate relationship with the One Who is really in charge.
So whatever you're going through, whatever you're facing, remember! You know the One Who's in charge of it all. Abandon yourself into His hands. I know I will because I realize that His hands are the safest place to be.