There comes a time in everyone’s life where an event makes them realize that they are at the end of themselves and have lost any resemblance of control that they thought they may have had over their life. For some, this happens early on in life. For others, they spend most of their lives believing they have control over it and then all of the sudden, the carpet gets ripped right out from under them. It is in that realization, that you are NOT in control of your story, where you have a choice and can either turn to something destructive to numb the pain or you can turn to God. Turning to God doesn’t make anything about your suffering or pain feel magically better, but it does help to give it purpose. Sometimes turning to God through the pain means being angry at God and sitting in that anger for a while. Other times, that means falling to your knees, flat on your face, and pouring every ounce of yourself out to him in despair and surrender. Or even still, maybe it is sitting and waiting for God to do something because “waiting” is a verb and that is being active too. However many years you had been alive, in those years you had learned who you think you are, created an identity, and then suddenly, in a flash moment of trauma, the refining fire stripped away all that you thought you knew and you became a basic shell again, wandering around disoriented from all that life has thrown at you.
It was in those very moments, that seemingly turned into months, that lead into the past 2 years that I had to understand the disorientation I felt and find a spot to keep my eyes fixated on and hold them there (I am so thankful for the many people/counselors that helped me with this). Like a child spinning in circles, trying to not fall down but by holding a focus on a spot the child’s balance will still be there. That spot for me was Jesus. I needed to remember and hold close to the truth that God is SOVEREIGN in ALL things even when I didn’t believe it. Even the things that I didn’t or won’t EVER understand on this side of heaven. Timothy Keller says “Job never saw why he suffered, but he saw God and that was enough.” Would I wish for a different story at times, absolutely, but at the end of the day when our time comes and we reach for Jesus’s scarred hand we will know him and he will know us because we have shared in those scars of suffering together.
Someone once said worship is wanting God more than wanting relief. The ultimate goal of our suffering is to bring us to worship. Sometimes crying out to God in despair is the only form of worship that we are capable of, but that is STILL worship. I have myself, many days, been in that place of suffering with nothing left to do but to cry out. To worship.
Then there are those times not just in the cancer journey but in any trial in life, where your mind wanders to the worst case scenarios usually in the waiting. Waiting for the results, waiting for the healing, waiting for the answers. You begin to have to wrap your mind around the what if’s. I ran across this quote the other day:
“WHAT if = Fear”
“EVEN if = Faith”
It’s in these times that you begin to ask yourself and wrestle with the question of, “Will I truly still believe and accept? IF NOT, is He STILL good?” That question is so hard to answer and I still struggle with confidently saying yes. But the HOPE of saying, "yes we have,” is because of the finished work on the cross. We can have faith that one day all will be restored, made right, and new again. The day is coming when the suffering will end. Until then, we trust that His way is better than ours, EVEN IF suffering is a part of it.
Back in the beginning of Emmy’s diagnosis I BROKE and the result was stress/anxiety/fear, a fast heart rate, and chest pains that left me hooked up to an EKG by my doctor to literally make sure I wasn’t having a heart attack. But, looking back at that experience, comparing it to my everyday reality, and then being reminded that what was my biggest fear is now my reality --- I have come to the realization that God is SO SO MUCH BIGGER than this fear. The fear of cancer, suffering, death, sickness, and not being able to do a single thing about it. Once my chains of fear had literally been cut away because every single day I was living with that biggest fear, the realization came to me that the Lord is using it to BEND me into a different shape. And all we can do is fly along for the ride. We have no choice but to live through it. We have no choice but to enjoy this day. This moment. This minute. We have broken apart as a family and become unraveled, but we have fallen back together totally different and still aren’t done being shape. I don’ t think we ever will be until our final days. We are NOT the same people we were before this trial, and to be honest, sometimes that’s a good thing. It’s a reawakening. A rebirth. Just like we are when we finally and truly surrender our brokenness or our desire to be the one in total control. It is only after we have done that, that we can HOPE and WORSHIP into a better shape.