My friend Jennifer is in the battle of her life. She was diagnosed with breast cancer just over 6 years ago. She is a loving wife and the mother of two young children (age 7 and 6). Now, after rounds of chemotherapy, radiation and time spent in the hospital...the cancer is back. Because of some damage a tumor has done to her spine, she is also dealing with some paralysis from the waist down. She’s home now and she and her husband are in the midst of prayerfully deciding which treatment direction is best. Over these past six years, she and her family have often asked the question: Why? Why would God allow suffering like this? To quote another friend's daughter Laura: "This is one of those situations that automatically gets added to my already long list of Things I Would Do Differently If I Was In Charge of the Universe". (http://acupofteawithme.blogspot.com/2007/10/big-question.html) We can relate. Just yesterday I was blessed to spend some precious time with Jennifer. An amazing time witnessing her, in the midst of her suffering, praising God for who He is. Continuing to ask & believe Him for healing ('He owns my cells') in the midst of some serious odds. Reciting Scripture passages she memorized long ago that speak of God’s greatness, goodness, faithfulness and love. Passages that give her peace and hope in the midst of this raging storm.
Again quoting my friend's daughter: "We often tend to ask WHY these things happen, but maybe a more realistic question is, HOW will we react WHEN they do? Here in America, I think we’ve been lulled by our relatively cushy lifestyles into believing that suffering is something best avoided. Certainly, it hurts -- and no one likes pain! But we seem to regard suffering as strange and unnatural. We think we're somehow entitled to a pain-free, trouble-free life. We assume that, if something deeply uncomfortable comes our way, God must be picking on us. We lash out at Him or at the people who are closest to us, and we feel sorry for ourselves. We try to find a way out of our misery. But what happens when there is no way out? At least, not at a price we’re willing to pay. What then?" Well, according to my friend Jennifer, we have two choices; we can either choose to dwell on WHAT God does for us or on WHO He is. She has chosen the later. Circumstances constantly change, life often turns out very differently than we had expected or imagined and many are left discouraged and disillusioned. But praise God He never changes. He's always the same. His word is eternally true.
None of us want to suffer...but it’s comforting to know that when I do, God has promised to be there with me every step of the way. May we all learn to focus on Him, trust in Him, rest fully in Him so that we too might find....like my dear friend Jen...the peace that passes all understanding. (Phillipians 4:7). May God pour out His love, mercy, grace and healing on you Jen. I love you.
God has said;
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." (Hebrews 13: 5b, 8 NIV)
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (James 1:2-4 NIV)
"The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights." (Habakkuk 3:19 NIV)