I disappeared for a while didn't I?
Last week I had a biopsy for cancer. I went to the hospital with Ron and Ken. I was prayed up and positive that this would be nothing and totally within my ability to handle.
Not only was the biopsy painful....but it left my throat swollen and sore for almost 36 hours. I decided to take time off and just "veg" and let it heal. One day stretched into two as I realized there was more to this cancer scare than I thought.
I found out I haven't been a very good friend. I've prayed with a lot of people who faced the possibility of a major disease. I've prayed with a lot of people who found out they had a major disease. But once the prayer was over and once the hugs were through, I walked away as if the situation were crossed off my list as well as theirs. "They heard me. We were positive together. Worry is gone. They believe. We both agreed God is in control."
But it doesn't end there.
Webster's defines "believe" as "to take as true, real..to have confidence in a statement or promise...to suppose....to have religious faith."
Sounds good. Unfortunately many Christians have the mistaken idea that to "believe" actually means to "conclude" which is a synonym of believe.
Our faith in God may be "concluding", but our faith in his will for us is simple "belief".
Let me illustrate. It's been hard for me to write this week. I prayed before and after the biopsy. I am not afraid of dying. However, I don't want to leave this world with so many of my goals unrealized - therefore, I would prefer not to die now. I am totally and completely convinced that God is real. I have "Concluded" that problem in my mind.
But knowing that his will for us is based on information that I don't have access to, I have to say - "Not my will but thine" - and that may mean that he will not deliver me from cancer but instead will choose to bring me through it.
Just because he helps me to survive cancer does not mean it is any less a miracle. Surviving can be more of a miracle than deliverance.
Now because I understand all that....there was a small thought that hung in the back of my mind like one of those police flashlights.
I wouldn't notice it while I was preparing supper. But as I washed up the dishes and looked out the window at the sunset, the flashlight would go on and spotlight how precious the beauty of this world is. I would think, "I hope I get to see many more sunsets - they are so beautiful."
I drove Jamie to his wedding and helped him while he rolled around in a wheelchair and photographed a wedding. Listening to him talk in the car, I smiled at his enthusiasm. "I hope I'm around when you get married. What fun we will have." That spotlight seemed to be more focused at that point.
Ken and I had lunch together and I was amazed as his wisdom and strength. "I hope I get to see what God is going to do with your life." That spotlight seemed to beam my desire all the way to heaven.
It wasn't that I didn't believe in God or his power. It wasn't that I was hysterical with grief. I just didn't know for sure and that "not" knowing gnawed at the back of my mind.
I have been extra tired this week and although I accomplished all the urgent needs that came my way - Something was definitely wrong. When Ron questioned me I would always smile and say "I'm fine". Only then would I notice the spotlight and wonder how he might take the news.
I felt as though the entire world was marching along with their life while I stood on the side line, believing with everything in me, yet holding my breath and wondering what my life would become in just one short week.
I took the time to read a couple of books and to contemplate my life. I listened to music and walked around stores. I looked through several scrapbooks. I gave myself time to be pensive and to let my heart and mind deal with the road I "might" have to travel. It was a journey I had to make.
Today I went to the doctor - alone. It was my choice to go alone. I was ready to handle whatever God chose for me. If it was cancer, I would write a book about my experience. And if it wasn't I would tell all my friends to change the way they pray for hurting people.
Praise God....I am cancer free. He has chosen a different path for me and I am grateful!
So how can we help others?
Pray those wonderful prayers for healing.
Say all the encouraging words you can.
Just be sure and give your friends permission to be sad or pensive or melancholy as they contemplate their future.
Above all else, realize that it is possible to believe in God with all your heart and still wonder which path he will choose for you.
Take a lesson from the greatest teacher I know.....if he had a hard time, it's possible we will too.
"He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death," he said to them. "Stay here and keep watch."
Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. "Abba, Father," he said, "everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will."
Being a good Christian is not having a lot of miracles in your life.
Being a good Christian is repeating the words of Jesus "Not my will - but thine."
God loves you,