Those are the words that my oncologist shared with me this week as he explained next steps. You see, when you are diagnosed with a disease that can potentially take your life from you, you change. You look at relationships differently, you don’t get upset so much over stupid things, you never take a day for granted and you put a big smile on your face every day that you wake up, are alive and feeling good. Well, at least that is the way I look at things. I know there are others who will choose to retreat into their own little world, become angry with God, begin feeling like they are owed something for their sufferings and are basically bitter and miserable every day of their lives.
Each one of us is required to make choices when change comes into our lives. When I go speak, I talk about the fact that people either run towards God or away from God when they face trials. Personally, I choose to run towards God. I have learned in my 29 years of following God that He is always faithful. He may not answer our pleas for help in the timing that we think He should. Nor does He always answer our prayers with the answer we asked for. But one thing I’ve learned…even when we don’t see Him, you can rest assured He is there.
I went to two oncology offices last week…one was hematology for meds and/or chemo. The other was for radiation treatments. My first appointment of the week was very upsetting. It’s a long story but let’s just leave it at that. On Thursday, I went to the second oncologist and I was petrified as I sat outside of their office preparing to go in for my appointment. I certainly need to trust these doctors who hold my life and well-being in their hands. If I were going to have an experience like I did on Monday, I was thinking about just ignoring the fact I have cancer and just going on as usual. I know that’s not a reasonable thought, but if I couldn’t trust those in charge of my care, I had no hope.
I read the Bible every morning…or at least try to do so. I typically follow one of the reading plans with the You Version online Bible. That way I can check off what I have read and track my progress. My reading the last couple of days had been in Ecclesiastes and then the Song of Solomon. Although each book has its benefits, I didn’t think they would provide me with the encouragement I needed for that particular day. I kept thinking, “I should read the book of James today.” However, life got in the way. Robin Roberts had returned to Good Morning America and I needed to check in to see how she was holding up on her second day back. Then I had to check Facebook and answer some emails. All of a sudden I looked up and I only had about 20 minutes to get a shower and be ready to leave for my appointment!
I was feeling bad that I didn’t get my reading in so I took my iPad with me so I could read a little while waiting to go into my appointment. I also chose to keep the radio off during the drive there and prayed instead. When I arrived I sat in the parking lot thinking to myself, “Maybe I should just forget all of this stuff. They are going to poison my body and give me other bad things to heal this already bad thing I have. At least most of the bad things they’re going to give me won’t actually kill me like cancer. They will only make me miserable as time goes on. But then I was reminded about how I want to be here for my grandchildren. I want them to know who I was as I don’t remember mine other than one grandpa. I want them to understand my faith in God and I want to tell them about Him when they are old enough to understand. I need to fight.” So I bravely got out of the car and went inside.
I tried to put a big smile on my face as I was greeted by the receptionist but it just came out about halfway. As I sat down to wait, I pulled out my iPad and opened it to James 1. As I sat in the waiting room, I had tears streaming down my face as God literally met me there with His Word. James 1:2-4 (NKJV) says: My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
It has been confirmed. I know now that life as I knew it is going to change. God is taking me to a new dimension of knowing Him. He is using my circumstances to stretch me, mold me and teach me His ways. I need to have praise on my lips and patience in my heart as He once again shows me more of Him. How can I not get excited knowing that He loves me enough to be there for me in my time of weakness and sorrow so that some day I might be perfected… complete…lacking NOTHING!
So yes, I will have days in my humanness that I am sad and ask, “Why me?” However, I hope that there will be many more days of praising Him for what He is doing and has done in my life through this current trial. Again, I will ask but with different meaning, “Why me? Why not choose to use someone who is a much better person than me? And then I will smile because I know that with my suffering, God will give me joy and meet me right where I am. He will fill me with more knowledge of Him and from today on, my life will never be the same. With that, I choose to praise Him all the rest of the days of my life! I have found my hope!
What trial have you been through that changed your life? Have you praised and thanked God for that experience or did you become bitter, missing the opportunity for growth? I realize that yes, it is important to trust my doctors. However, it is even more important to trust my Lord and Savior. He is the one that holds the answers and will see me through. I hope that you will be inspired to give God that struggle you have in your life today. No longer will you put your trust in man; rather, you will trust the God who is right there with you seeing you through. I promise you. If you make the choice to trust God today, your life as you know it will never be the same! Be blessed this week and don’t forget…go out and be a blessing!
A couple of more inspirational thoughts sent to me from friends…
Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
“God, who foresaw your tribulation, has specially armed you to go through it, not without pain but without stain.” — C.S. Lewis