May 17th changed everything….I woke up from the colonoscopy only to find that Drew was on his way back to see me with the doctor. I knew something was wrong. Covid had created new protocols and Drew was NOT supposed to be allowed in recovery.
Sure enough, when you hear the word “cancer” you feel like you have been hit by a wave.
I grew up close to the ocean. Have you ever made the mistake of turning your back to the ocean? If you can’t see the waves, you run the risk of a wipeout. It hits you, your feet leave the ground and, before you know it, you are left sitting in a pile of sand and likely choking on saltwater. Once you are sitting in wet sand, you can guarantee that that sand is with you the rest of the day. That’s what cancer feels like-like the sand that you can’t wash off.
The waves of emotion began to hit, one after another. Every time I got a break and regained some perspective, another wave would hit. Those waves were dark, lonely, and scary. But then I received some wisdom from a friend: “May the peace of Jesus STILL THE WAVES when they mount up.”
I had to turn around and face the waves, planting my feet and tackling each one, knowing that God was right there with me. I had to trust that Jesus would STILL THE WAVES. Colossians 1:17 says, “He is before all things & in Him all things hold together.” Cancer was a surprise for me but cancer wasn’t a surprise for God. This was just another chapter in my life.
As I changed my perspective, continued to dive into the Word, received encouragement & prayers, I began to hear the still, small voice of God speaking to me over and over. God directly and specifically said, “I’ve got this.”
But it wasn’t enough to just face the waves.
It was time to be sure that my approach was filled with WORSHIP. 1 Peter says “Suffer grief in all trials-they come so that your faith may be proved genuine & may result in praise, glory and honor.” You see, everything is for the glory of God. We are all only one moment away from hearing life-changing news—because life changes every day and our reaction to that news matters. At Grace, we sing a song that says,
I faced major surgery on July 1st. I spent 9 days in the hospital and 14 weeks of recovery. I then had a second necessary surgery on October 6th. I am still recovering from that one. I have been living this for more than 6 months. And I can say without a doubt, “God, You’re so good….You’re so good to me.”
2 Timothy 4:17 says, “But the Lord stood with me & strengthened me so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed.”
This passage has taught me three things:
- Because of Jesus, I am not alone.
- Because of Jesus, I am strong enough.
- Because of Jesus, I have a message to share.
May 17th changed everything but at the very same time, it didn’t change anything at all.
My purpose and my calling never changed. The only thing that changed was my circumstances and that only opens new doors. Drew & I were given the opportunity to share Jesus through our interactions and our reactions. Opportunities are everywhere.
We often think of challenges as a time of when our faith is being tested.
Instead of a time of testing, what if cancer is the lesson?
Cancer is now a part of my story. It is shaping me into something new. It has taught me a new dependency on God. It has changed me physically, spiritually, and emotionally. It’s a daily reminder to find gratitude. Romans 8:28 says, “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.” Are we living in anticipation of what God will do through us?
We all have circumstances and they all matter to God.
We must seek:
- Perspective (fixing our eyes on God)
- Perseverance (keeping our eyes on God)
- Purpose (telling everyone what He has done)
I learned something because of cancer. Cancer is indeed the lesson. What I do with it…..that’s the test! Looking for opportunities to share my story, to proclaim the work of God in my life and to express why I have hope in Christ – THAT’S THE TEST!
This is my test. This is my journey. This is my story. This is my opportunity. But you have one too.
So what’s your ‘cancer?’ And what are you going to do with it?
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