Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cancer... Godly Optimism

Cancer... It turned my life upside down and inside out.  I often found myself on a roller coaster of hope and fear during Brad’s illness. One test delivering hope...the next...filling me with fear. 

I eventually became very aware that my confidence on any given day (or portion of ) was likely tied to what I fixed my understanding upon. I found myself repeatedly asking; “Am I looking for assurance and relief from my struggles from my understanding of what the doctors are telling me or in what God has promised me?”

“Come to me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.”   ~  Matthew 11:28 CEB

I was blessed to have my husband Brad, whose faith encouraged my own in our struggle over  God’s Providence. I strained so hard to hear and I failed to understand the things God was revealing in the midst of it...yet Brad seemed to understand His every word. When Brad would attempt to describe it to me...his words strangely became a language I could not decipher fully it’s meaning... But just the same I felt eager to know it too. I think God had given Brad some holy “One on one” time as a precious gift for what was happening and for what was to come. Although I may not have grasped a clear understanding of what God was doing...I found some comfort in knowing that Brad was at rest in it. But I wanted...I needed more...
So...I went to the only source I felt certain God could “break through” my deafness and feelings of defeat... His Word.  It was there I found a very clear message that God was not forsaking me and He had not abandoned His post over mine and Brad’s life by allowing cancer to enter our lives. As hard as it was for me at times to accept... I knew that God is the one who had allowed this disease into Brad’s body. I also knew, it is God who will either defeat the cancer or call Brad home by it’s effects. 
For me, there was never going to be a “good time” for Brad to leave me ‘behind’...but I knew that whether the Lord gave us many more years together or took Brad “too soon”, that God would work this out for our good. Brad often said he was in a “win - win” situation. Brad was eager to remain here and enjoy more years with his loving wife and continue serving the Lord here on earth. Yet, if God called him home...Brad often pondered the day he would be with Jesus and see his Savior face to face.  
I remain to this day unable to answer why God allowed Brad to die from such a wretched disease...but I feel confident that Brad’s death which was ‘too soon’ for all of us who loved him was not one moment early or one second late according to God’s Providence for Brad’s life here on earth.
In this precious understanding...I have been given peace. In God’s grace, I continue my desire to seek Him more and more; and in my search, perhaps I too will discover what God revealed to Brad when I sought so hard to understand His Providence in the calamities of cancer which changed my life forever.
Although there was a brief time I doubted God’s goodness, I can proclaim with great certainty now, that the adversity of cancer and Brad’s death by it..our God remains faithful and He is good. 
When Brad was diagnosed with cancer, I prayed for healing. Countless were the prayers from our family and friends, even people we didn’t know, for God to make him well. Yet, woven into each prayer I made for healing I found myself praying perhaps what I see now as a ‘better’ prayer. I often prayed that I would be the wife Brad needed me to be in all be faithful and trustworthy ... compassionate and giving. I prayed to be ‘strong’ so as not be worrisome to him, and I prayed to bring my husband laughter, contentment...and joy. 
I also prayed asking God to help me to trust Him. Although I wanted Him to see that keeping Brad here with me would be better for the whole world and not just me...I also wanted God to increase my faith and help me to believe that it really was less important that God see things ‘my way’ or for “God to believe me”and more important that I believe God and His promises. 
You have searched me, LORD,
   and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
   you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
   you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
   you, LORD, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
   and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
   too lofty for me to attain.
 7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
   Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
   if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
   if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
   your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
   and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
   the night will shine like the day,
   for darkness is as light to you.
 13 For you created my inmost being;
   you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
   your works are wonderful,
   I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
   when I was made in the secret place,
   when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
   before one of them came to be.
(emphasis mine)  ~
Psalms 139:1-16  

Nothing that touches our lives can make the number of our days here on earth last one day later or have us leave our earthly dwellings one day earlier. Cancer cannot determine when we will go home. Only our Father can.
“They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.”    ~ Revelations 22:4 CEB

1 comment:

  1. Love your 'better' prayer. Just what He makes us...always 'better'. Healed... and better. Love you sister! Sweetly broken, wholly (& holy ;)) surrendered, Deanna