Most days pass by filled with the every days of life, appointments, grocery shopping, taxiing the kids from here to there, homework, piano practice, the list goes on and on. Most days I flit from one thing to the other, doing what needs to be done. But then there are days, moments when I'm forced to pause.
2012 came in with a bang. My almost 60 year-old mother-in-law, Yvonne's cancer from 2008 metastasized into 3 tumors on the back of her cerebellum. She had surgery to remove them on the 6th of January. They were only able to remove 2. She is still recovering from the surgery, but progressing well. She will begin radiation in the near future. A CAT scan after surgery showed no signs of the third tumor. Wow!
I've just literally received news that my 42 year-old cousin has pancreatic cancer. He has kids and a family. He's a strong, healthy firefighter. He starts chemo in a few weeks.
It's hard to not feel overwhelmed. Watching people you care about suffering through very difficult, life-threatening illnesses. Wanting full and complete healing for them. Wanting them to be around for their families. Not wanting to deal with another loss.
It pauses me. I feel helpless. What do I say? What can I do? And the reality is, I cannot do a single thing to change or fix any of it and neither can they. But that doesn't mean there is no hope. It doesn't mean there isn't Someone who can.
God found me in one of the darkest times in my life. A time when I felt helpless and alone. It was in this struggle that He showed me what faith meant. I was forced to face things about myself that I didn't want to face. I was stubborn, self-protective, controlling, and un-trusting. I never acknowledged my need for anyone, especially God. I did everything on my own, rarely depending on others for help. It wasn't until my world shook and I wasn't able to fix it myself that God was able to get my attention on that issue. God had been with me throughout my life. As a child I went to church. I had atleast a semblance of knowledge and belief. When things went downhill for me I was attending a church that was already spurring me on towards a deeper growth and relationship with God. It was in the midst of this, my crisis and my church, that I was able to see all of the ways God had already been helping me, maneuvering, leading and guiding my life.
When the going got tough, I turned to God, the only hope I really had. When I attended church, read the scriptures, conversed and asked questions of my Christian friends, I learned about Jesus and grew in faith and understanding.
God is good. He is all-powerful and all-knowing. He knows us, deeply. He is faithful and just. All He asks in return is that we believe.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened" (MATTHEW 7:7-8).
So what is faith? Faith is believing, trusting, surrendering to something unseen, God. Having faith that God is living and working in our lives. That through prayer we can talk to Him and ask Him for whatever our desires are believing that He can "do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine" (Ephesians 3:19). Faith is an attitude. Faith is how I respond to trials, trusting God more. Faith is believing God is in control, that He has a plan. Faith is an understanding of the big picture. That what is going on in my life right now is just a small part of something much bigger than myself. That I do not and will not know all the ways God is working for my good right now and sometimes that even means He doesn't answer my prayers the way I want Him to answer them. Faith is surrendering to whatever His will is, even if it's not what I want.
So in this pause, when I know what I want to happen, when I pray my desires for my mother-in-law and my cousin, in trust I know that what they are going through has a purpose, or God would not allow it to be. That with every trial we have an opportunity to learn from, grow in, and even begin to walk in faith with Christ.
Dear God, I am once again reminded that I am not in control. I need You in every part of my life. You know the needs of Your children. If it be Your will, Lord, please take the cancer from Yvonne and Jimmy. Please be with them throughout their medical care and work within them to fight and heal. Lord God, I cannot help but ask "why?" sometimes. I know that there are reasons I cannot know at this time, or may never know in this life. Help me to remember that I don't need to know "why". I have hope and peace knowing that You are in control of all things, that You love them, and that whatever happens is part of a bigger picture. Please help me to walk in faith with You, dear God.