I called Dr. Patel yesterday. He is an oncologist at MD Anderson and I made an appointment for January 2nd. People keep asking me how I am doing and they say I look healthy, which is always funny to me, as most people with cancer look healthy until it is far-gone. It’s the traditional treatments that make you look bad - chemo, radiation and the lack of sleep and appetite with medicines and such. Anyways, I sometime think I’d almost just like to go on in complete ignorance of cancer. Skip the doctors, tests, treatments and such, just trust in the Lord for my healing, and not ever think about the potential dark cloud that will be following me for the rest of my life on this earth. I know that won’t be an option, but it does sound nice and peaceful.
Recently, I have had more pain and suffering than I have ever experienced with cancer. When talking to my dear friend Susan the other day, I said that my recent experience was “worse than cancer” and I meant it. I later started thinking about my comment and my feelings and wondered, “Why is that?” and “Why do I feel that way?” I have had people treat me horribly and act as though I have done something so awful, that I am beyond Christian grace and forgiveness. Much is lack of communication and misunderstandings, but most has been Satan’s lies. So how could I feel so much pain with this compared to what I went through with cancer?, especially when cancer is life threatening and this situation has been just, well… Satan and his schemes and dealing with trivial stuff? I mean in the whole scheme of things, life and death, good and evil, and so on – who cares if a few people are uncaring and hurtful? People are diagnosed with terrible diseases, babies are starving and countries are at war. Soilders lose limbs, women are raped and children are sold and so much more happens in this fallen world we live in. It makes little misunderstandings and mean words seem just so trivial.
Here is what I have realized with my cancer. It has always been about my trusting God for everything and it’s been a very real and personal relationship with Him alone. There was nothing anyone did to me to cause the cancer, no exact situation or definite cause of the cancer, and so for me there was no anger. Sometimes I had frustration with circumstances, but not anger at the Lord. I know that He gave me life and only He determines my death as well. I know that He is in control of what happens in my body and he can quickly cure and prevent future cancer or allow it to grow. With cancer, I have and continue to trust God in every step along the way. I have no one to think about, blame, or even disagree with, because my cancer became an ever- growing dependence on the Lord and it is mine alone. What a blessing to know and trust Hebrews 12:2 “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” This scripture and countless others have taught me so much and strengthened my faith. I will forever be thankful for my cancer for the very reason of it drawing me closer to my God and Savior.However, with the strife and lies I have been dealing with has been easy for me to forget that I am dealing with spiritual warfare and think that it is really people that are the cause. It is easy for me to want to blame people for doing things incorrectly instead of covering them with love. "Above all things have fervent love for one another, for 'love covers a multitude of sins.' Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each character has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God" 1 Peter 4:8-10. I feel sad for those that try to bring me and my good intentional efforts down, because they are not living out biblical principals such as 1 Peter 4:8 – 10. However, I am also happy as I realize these people are works in progress, just like me and I can and do pray for them. Ephesians 6:12- “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” How wonderful to know that God has us all exactly where we are and going what we are going through for His divine and providential purposes, even if difficult. No one sin is better than another and God sees it all the same.
In this most recent situation, I have been so saddened and hurt by some of the Lord’s own children, but I am ever grateful for this experience that God allowed for my good and the good of others, as I have learned so much throughout it. I cannot control what people do, think, and believe. Even if I believe that they are misguided and wrong in their choices, I need to forgive them just as Jesus forgave his persecutors. I need to release people to the Lord that I would like to help, because sometimes it’s not an option for me to be the one to help them. I need to trust in the Lord more than ever and ask Him to help me control myself and help hold me back so I do not engage in actions my flesh would love to. Of course, I have previously reacted in the flesh and my sin has been revealed through me as a host. I am sure I will do sinful things again as I am not perfect, but I am a work in progress and God is perfecting me through adversity, refining through the fire. Through Christ’s death on the cross, I am capable of also crucifying my sinful self and speaking and acting with the help of the Holy Spirit and walking in truth and love. As God endured the cross, I am given the hope that I can endure anything that comes my way with Him and His strength. 2 Samuel 2:3: “My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; my savior, you save me from violence.”
The love of God is not God's making much of us, but God's saving us from self-centeredness so that we can enjoy making much of Him forever. If I take my eyes off of me and put them on Jesus, then I will be where I am supposed to be. I will forever be thankful for this situation as well for the very reason of it once again drawing me closer to my God and Savior and my needing to rely on Him instead of myself or others. Relating to sinful people in a sinful world will always been more difficult that relating with a perfect God. God never disappoints, hurts or is ever my enemy, but even my own friends and family can turn with sin in them, against me. I have to not only seek God for my continued good health in my walk with cancer, but I have to be okay with the fact that He may allow it again. I have to not only deal with sinful situations and terrible hurts, but I have to trust that God is in control there and also rely on Him to help me act and speak the way He wants me to. I have to depend on the Lord in and for everything and I know this brings Him glory.Colossians 3:12-13: “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”
Focus on God, not your problems - I love the part about Daniel in the Lions Den
I hope this helps someone.