|Photo Credit - Rachel Spurgeon|
When life gets hard or when our everyday life detours into roads to which we are not familiar we find ourselves confronted with unknowns. That has been the last month of my life. Six weeks ago I had heard of thyroid cancer; but I was unaware of the types of cancers that can show up in the thyroid. Six weeks ago I was not accustomed to seeing my husband tired and coming home exhausted at the end of a normal work day. Then life took a turn and the sign in front of that road was marked “DETOUR”. I had not been this way before in my journey.
I found myself amazed at range of emotions that came over me. It has been quite a month! It has been interesting to me to see how easily it is for me in times of crisis to place my faith and dependence upon things that are not dependable. It has literally been a battle of my soul to make sure that I am placing my faith – my dependence – my trust in something that is solid and sure. It also has amazed me at how hard Satan tries to bring things across my path that appear to be worthy of my faith and trust; but after closer observation I realize that there is not sure footing in these things. It has been amazing to me at how much Satan has tried to battle for control of my thoughts in the past four weeks. It has been a battle been fought – quite intensely, might I add! Satan has wanted to do everything in his power to cause me depend upon things that were not biblical and sure.
One of the places I saw that Satan wanted me to place my faith in was that of statistics and numbers. When the first surgeon told us that she was very concerned about some serious cancers I went home and started to do the research the cancers she had mentioned. When I saw the percentage of people that get these types of cancers was only 1% and 3% of those diagnosed with thyroid cancer I found myself placing my dependence on those low stats and telling myself that we would be fine! The mantra of those of us who want to depend upon the numbers for our faith is: “We’ll be fine! What are the chances?” But as I went to bed that night quoting my mantra and seeing those percentage signs in neon colors in my head flashing on and off – I must admit that I had NO peace. No peace, because deep in my heart I knew that statistics cannot be trusted. I live in a world where children get cancers, babies die, tornadoes bring out entire devastation within seconds and a myriad of other devastation that are not statistically ‘possible’.
Another place I found myself wanting to depend upon but not finding peace within was normality. So many times I found myself thinking, “This can’t be happening to us! “ “This is all a bad dream and I am going to wake up to find everything is as it has always been.” Here I was wanting to place my faith in normality; but this has not been a bad dream and while I have awaken from sleep about thirty-five times since the first day we heard cancer, the tumor is still there and Rob has still been sick. When I place my faith in my schedule, my lists, my plans (and I am a planner, am a master list maker and I LOVE my schedules) – I find myself on terrible shaky ground when I am depending upon these things to give me peace.
A well meaning acquaintance said to me recently that what I needed to do was to refuse to think about cancer – to make sure that I did not even let the word come into my mind – because it would send “bad vibes” that would make Rob sick. She then concluded that if the bad vibes were gone Rob would get healed and the cancer would no longer have any place in his body because we had commanded it to not be there by thinking about good things and not the negative cancer. While I was not tempted to put my faith in this rational; I will say that there are many who want to use positive thinking to handle all the problems that come into life. Thinking happy thoughts and refusing to think about anything that might be negative will not cure cancer, stop murder or famine, cure our political crisis’s or heal family relationships. If am placing my faith in my ability to think positively and command anything “bad” out of my life to make my life peaceful – it will not take long at all for my faith to be dashed to pieces!
I have found another way Satan tries to get me to misplace my faith and it is one that actually looks sounds and feels very SPIRITUAL; but I am positive that it is the most destructive. This plot of Satan to destroy my faith in God is when Satan tries to convince me that I am to pray in faith and demand upon God to work the way that I want this to turn out. When I am tempted to have my prayer life turn into nothing more than demanding my way from God and using an incorrect view of “bold faith” to justify my actions, the potential for my view of God to be shattered is a distinct possibility – no, it is actually a probability! I believe Satan tries very hard to have me believe this avenue is worthy of my faith. If He convinces me if I truly believe in God I am able to manipulate God with my prayers; I am in a very very dangerous position. When my manipulative faith filled prayers are prayed and God does not do what I want Him to do, serious doubts are placed on God’s love and care for me; or I will look to myself and feel that I did something wrong in the way I prayed (not long enough, bold enough, or faith filled enough) for God to answer. When my faith is placed here – the results are devastating to my faith if it does not turn out my way.
In Psalm 42:5 the psalmist declares and pleads: “Why art thou cast down, Oh my soul? And why art thou disquieted in me? Hope thou in GOD: for I shall yet praise Him for help of His countenance. (emphasis mine) When I place my dependence upon God Himself I find peace and a sure footing. Depending upon God is possible as I review in my mind His nature and His attributes. The more I know about God the easier it is for me to depend (have faith) upon Him. There have been several nights when my mind started reviewing over and over again all the things that could change and have changed since the tumor appeared – and as I kept reviewing those in my mind I found unrest and anxiety. I have had to consciously choose to stop those obsessive thought and make my mind start thinking about who God is. (I also have had several friends who have been my counselors who have reminded me to have faith in something sure – not in the uncertain). The concept of God and His love has been one attribute I have focused upon and have found when I have done this a complete peace settled over my heart. “Be still and know that I am God” has been a verse I have quoted over and over again in my mind.
I also have found great peace come when I place myself and my faith in the Word of God. Psalm 119:50 says, “This is my comfort in my affliction: for Thy Word hath quickened (made alive) me.” Such comfort I have found in the Bible these past four weeks! It has been a source of encouragement to me. There have been days where I just could not do the normal things that occupy my time – I just needed to sit and read God’s Word and have found such abundant help during those times of reading and meditation. God’s Word has brought such peace and comfort to me!
I have also found that God’s Word brings so much peace when I depend upon the promises that God has given me as I read His Word. The Bible is not just a history book or a book of theology. God has given me His Word to help guide me through this trial. When I apply God’s promises to me – to this situation and depend upon them in faith knowing that what God says is true I have complete peace! One promise that I have held close to my heart through within this past month is found in II Corinthians 4:17-18. “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” What comfort this promise has been! God is using this affliction (and He calls it a LIGHT affliction) – to do something within me that is more than I can even comprehend here in my heart! He is using this in my life for ETERNAL benefits! WOW! When I claim this as truth and rest on this as what is happening in my life right now – I have immense peace!
So, daily I am choosing to place my faith in what is sure and on the One who changes not and can be trusted. Yes, I have prayed for healing and for the cancer to be gone – but I also have told the Lord that I want His will for our lives and I will leave it to Him. He can heal the cancer or He can allow for us to go through deep waters because of cancer. I do not know what the future holds in that regard but we will know very soon. I do know that no matter what happens God loves me, will not leave me, and will give the grace to go through whatever comes after the surgery. God is the One I can trust. He is more dependable than statistics, logic, positive thinking or a manipulative religion. When I trust in God Himself – I find peace that cannot be explained! I have understood this peace within these last few weeks – it has been wonderful!