This is about finding our way to God and his guiding hand. Some find their way faster than others…some get lost in the disparity of it all.
Troubles cause me to feel trapped and oppressed. Worries complicate circumstances from which it is difficult for me to escape. At night I cannot sleep, and by day I can get no rest. The burden of stress is at times, intolerable. Where is God? Does He even pknow, or are my prayers heard only by the walls that surround me? Is He near enough to lay his calming hands on me, or somewhere distant, only watching?
If you hurt enough to ask such questions, you deserve answers.
Some people think that you don’t deserve an answer or will spare your feelings by giving half truths.
You are sick or dying, you feel you have been deserted or you are lost — and some will try to shush you.
Their intentions are meant to be good, but they are sometimes hard to bear.
“Don’t question God’s ways; He might hear you.”
In my cry due to grief, do I not want Him to hear me?
“It’s probably for your own good.”
If I’m to be tortured for my own good, shouldn’t I get a say in the matter?
“I’m sure there’s a good reason.”
No doubt there is, but did I ask for a philosophical explanation?
What I asked is “Where is God?”
Has God forgotten about me? Does He not love me anymore? Why does He seem to be hiding Himself from me? I am weary of my comforters, tired of His defenders. I want God to answer me in person. If only I could state my case before Him and hear His answer! These are natural questions for someone newly diagnosed with cancer.
Even worse is when someone answers your questions by saying, “You’re being unfair to God. It isn’t His fault. If He could have kept your trouble from happening, He would have, but He couldn’t. God is just as helpless as you are, and He weeps to see your sorrow.” No, this is not the answer you want at this time. You are thinking if God is really God, then He could have put a stop to it before it happened; if I’m suffering, then He could have stopped it but didn’t. You may be baffled by Him, you may be frustrated by Him, but the God you want to hear from is the God who rules the world. Right now you are not interested in a God who is “not responsible.” This is the voice of despair deep in your subconscious not the truth you should know in your heart.
In moments like this when someone we know is diagnosed with a horrible disease or when someone we love is ripped from our arms tragically, we often and understandably find ourselves at a loss for words. (I have been there for both…lost a brother when he was 21, husband diagnosed with lymphoma, then me with breast cancer, and the Mom with pancreatic cancer) We know there’s nothing we can do or say that will offer the sort of deep peace and healing that is needed and yet we feel compelled to speak anyway because silence can be so terrifying and, unfortunately, as we fumble for what to say. We sometimes end up compounding the pain instead of bringing the peace we hoped to give. We are human and tend to speak before we think.
Whether it is through the innate wisdom of friends and family or some sort of enabling grace, I was never told once during the course of treatment that my cancer diagnosis happened for a reason or that it was somehow part of God’s plan, some sort of cruel plot device the divine decided to hurl my way for some mysterious purpose.
No one told me that God gave me cancer. It just happened.
Now, you might be thinking to yourself, “Well, I would sure hope that God didn’t give it to me. That would be awful. Who would ever say or even think such a think?” I wish the answer was no one and I’m convinced many of the someones who do respond with misguided words of comfort about God’s plan don’t completely think through what they are actually saying or they would realize the horror they are inflicting on their loved ones and just remain silent.
Before looking for God’s plan in my cancer, I went through the various stages of dealing with the trial on my own (anger, bargaining and depression) all while acting like I was in total control of my inner self. I soon realized I had learned very little during the first month of my bout with cancer. I was reading all the right stuff and going through all the motions, but I was not taking any of it to heart at first. I was determined that some good would come out of my breast cancer experience.
When I finally turned everything over to God and His plan, I knew that He loved me and had a plan for my life and that He only wanted the best for me, so I put my trust in Him. I faced my own mortality, and though I had a lot to live for including a husband, two daughters and two granddaughters, I was not afraid to die, if that was what God had planned. As a believer in Jesus Christ, I knew He had become a man and paid the debt for my sins by dying on the cross, that He had risen from the grave, and that I was assured of eternal life in heaven. So, whether I lived or died, it was going to be okay. This helped me release much of my fear.
I never understood James 1:2-3 before. It made no sense to me to be joyful in the midst of trials; maybe when trials were over, but not in the middle of them. My experience with cancer has brought me the joy of knowing my children and grandchildren prayed for me; and, it has brought me closer to God, my husband, and my Christian friends through prayer.
My illness has also brought many wonderful new friends into my life through cancer support groups. It reminded me to enjoy each day and to appreciate the natural beauty around me, health, and love more fully; it has given me more empathy for others going through trials; and my cancer has given me patience to endure many medical procedures and to wait on the Lord for His answer to our prayers for a physical healing. In the meantime, the spiritual healing that is taking place is pure joy and I am delighting in the time I have to be a loving “Oma” to my grandchildren. I have much for which to be joyful!
When struggling with cancer, there are times you can clearly see God working in your life. But then the side effects come, or your loved ones become distant, or maybe the tests results are discouraging. At these times it’s easy to wonder, “Is God really in control of my cancer?”
The answer is a resounding YES! There is no radiation room, doctor’s office, chemo chair or lonely night where God is not completely in charge. Do not let the pain and fear that can breed in these places replace your knowledge that God is in charge. God does not want to see His beloved children suffer. God hurts when you hurt and weeps when you weep.
Even though you may believe God is in control, cancer can too easily throw a life out of control. Before the diagnosis, you had plans. You had plans for your career, your retirement, your marriage, your family and suddenly you have to shift those plans to include the demands of cancer, and cancer can be very demanding of your time, your energy, your focus and your emotions. When people say “everything changed when I heard it was cancer,” they’re not just talking about the changes in their body. They’re talking about the changes in their view of their lives. Cancer brings us face-to-face with the lack of control we have in our lives.
But cancer doesn’t affect God’s control of your life. Look at this verse:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
God does not just use some things for good. God uses ALL things for good. God will use your diagnosis, exhaustion, nausea, pain, regret, loneliness and fear for good. God is completely in charge. So, if God’s purpose remains a mystery, rest in the certainty that nothing bad ever happens that God cannot use for good. Just think of it! Even in the midst of a sinful world, God promises to work all things — every stupid, senseless, destructive and evil thing — for the good of those who love Him. God would not be in complete control if He only used some things or even most things. God is in control, and He uses all things.
To actually see someone’s life touched by God through your suffering might help it all make sense. For some, any kind of suffering is easier to cope with if they can see a purpose. But let’s face it. The burden of working your cancer into good sounds overwhelming. You may be asking, “How am I supposed to work this nasty cancer to be something good for God? I’m just hanging on myself.” Don’t worry. It’s not your job to figure out how God will shine through you. It’s God’s job. After all, He can use your cancer to draw people closer to Him in ways you will never know. Your job is to hang on to Jesus the best way you can.
If you hunger to understand how God is using your cancer, it can be frustrating to not see evidence of God at work. You may only see frustration in the eyes of your family and fear in the eyes of your friends but no shining ray of God’s glory. It’s OK if you can’t see His glory shining through your life. It’s there. God promised. Really!
God promises more than showing His works to others. Read the verse of the day again. For whom is God working? YOU!! God promises to use His authority for your good! And God knows what is good. He knows we need His goodness; that’s why He sent Jesus. Jesus will bring you blessings from burdens and hope from despair. It’s true. He will bring you blessings from your burdens and hope from your despair.
Lay your head back and rest in the loving arms of your Heavenly Father. Know that your cancer is not senseless; it has purpose. God’s purpose is for His glory to be REVEALED through YOU. All praises go to Him.