Faith Is Not always Easy!

God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12 NLT)

 

 

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“It Is Well With My Soul"

It appears to me that cancer or other serious illnesses have to be dealt with through the grace of God. For some people there is shock, others denial, or grief. Some experience anger or depression. I have friends who are going through really bad illnesses. Others have children with serious physical problems.

Often when I go to MD Anderson Cancer Center for doctor appointments and tests, I see patients a lot worse off than I am and their faces linger in my mind. I don’t always know their names, but I whisper a prayer for God’s healing and blessings upon them and their families as I walk down the halls. Children especially touch and burden my heart. When I have opportunity to strike up a conversation, I always turn the conversation to God and our need for Him. The thought occurred to me one day as I told someone, “I am excited and want to share with you my good news: My Oncologist just said I am in remission.“ I began to wonder if some people might think, “Well, I’m not in remission, why are you so special?”  I try to be very sensitive to people’s needs as I talk with them. More times than not, I ask if I can have a prayer with them. I ask God to bring peace, grace, and healing according to His plan for their lives. I ask God to bless their caregivers.  People always thank me and oftentimes ask me to place their name on my prayer list. And I have a long one!

My experience has taught me that one must have a solid relationship with Christ in order to enter fully into His grace to go through difficult times, physical or emotional. Not everyone is going to be healed. I am reminded of what Paul said in Philippians 4:10-14, “I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.  For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength” (NLT).  In order for us to have that spirit requires a solid relationship with Christ. The overcoming grace that God gave Paul in his suffering is the same overwhelming power and grace that Jesus can give us to empower us to handle physical suffering or other difficult situations.

I like 1 Peter 1:6-7, “So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” Many people share stories of intense suffering and how God has provided His grace for then to handle it.

In worship Sunday past, we sang that beautiful old familiar hymn, It Is Well With My Soul”. Follow this link for the hymn and the lyrics.

There are many times I sense God asking me, “Will you choose to say ‘It is well’? Are you going to trust me?”  I remember laying in the bed at MD Anderson Cancer Center, in the darkness of night, praying, singing praise songs, and quoting Scripture in my mind. Linda told me after my Oncologist said that I was in remission, that he even doubted I would survive.

Honestly, I don’t remember much about my hospital stay. I laugh at some of the stories Linda tells me about my hospital stay and how a lot of times I was out of my tree! Strong chemo and whole brain radiation affected my short-term memory. I do know that I am very grateful for God’s blessings and healing. I chose to never get mad at God, blame God, nor even question Him. I simply see all of this as God’s plan for my life, and He has been with us every step of the way.

I decided early on that I would never question God’s love and no matter what, I choose to say, “It is well…with me.”

I just remember that God knows the pain of seeing His only son suffer. Jesus suffered for me/you and God weeps with you/me in our difficult times. 

My only intention in writing about this is to honor God for His goodness and maybe encourage you if you are walking through the valley now. Thank God that He’s on our side. He knows exactly how we feel. He’s been there.

 

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