Happy New Year! 😊 I hope you are rejoicing!
If you feel like me right now maybe it's a little bittersweet, letting go of 2018 and facing the unknowns of circumstances carrying into 2019.
Today I’m reminded about a time about five years ago when I had a scan that showed an area of growth in or near my thymus in my chest. I couldn't figure out how something could have gone wrong and how I may have developed cancer again, as I couldn't figure out what else might be happening. I was following my rigorous regimen and I didn't get what was going on! My doctor said to wait six weeks before going for another test, and there was nothing I could really do while I waited to change the outcome besides pray. I did not handle the situation well and chose to focus on all the possible negative outcomes. As a result I felt scared, confused, bitter and basically miserable for much of the time.
Eventually the test came and with bated breath I received the results. Miraculously, there seemed to be shrinkage and restoration to normal health! I was amazed and tried to figure out what had just happened. I couldn't, and neither could my doctor. Looking back at my medical records it‘s not clear whether there was the significant amount of growth and shrinkage I believed there was, or how to explain how the spot grew and then shrank. But what I learned was that even with no logical explanations for a situation - how you got there, how to get out of it, or both - worrying is not worth the consequences. Matthew 6:27 says, "And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?" I realized that this Scripture held a lot of truth and value.
Not long after that health scare I found an opportunity to apply what I had just learned during another health scare, this time about a spot on my liver. Oh, joy! Again, it was discouraging with the possibility that I might have cancer again. BUT I really didn't want to be miserable like I had been the time before, worrying about what suffering I might have to endure in the future. I didn't want to needlessly waste time despairing while life and its joys passed me by, especially when I didn't even know what the outcome would be. Fortunately though, I knew what not to do, and what I could do instead. I made a better decision that time, by the grace of God, that I would trust God to bring good from my situation no matter what happened (Romans 8:28; Genesis 50:20). Even if I did have cancer again and it didn't end the way I'd hoped, God would use it for His glory and I was ok with that (you know, for the most part)! God had been so good to me and I knew that He loved me no matter what happened because of what He had already done for me (James 1:17, John 3:16), so I asked for people to pray for my family because they would suffer more than I would, both in the waiting and in the potential negative outcome.
I had another more descriptive test that would tell us the nature of the spot, whether it was like cancer or not. Well, after a shorter wait this time, it revealed that it was benign! I was elated. Thankfully, I had no regrets for wasting my time and energy on negative thinking and I only had joy and gratitude. I thanked God that everything turned out the way I had hoped it would, but I had even more meaningful appreciation that through this test of faith God enable me to handle that time of uncertainty and waiting and that I would have found peace no matter the outcome.
With this new year and new tests of faith I hope I will be able to look back in the future and be glad that I took God at His word and walked by faith rather than sight, observing how God's faithfulness resulted in my good and the building up of others. I pray similarly for you, that you and I won't doubt God and His good plans for us (Jeremiah 29:11) and lose the blessings that are available to us now, but that we will remember those who have faithfully suffered before us - people like Paul and Jesus - and follow their examples. That we, like they, will have endured our difficult circumstances and found them to result in amazing glory. I pray in addition that these victories in the big things will encourage us to trust God even in the smaller, seemingly less significant things that steal our joy when things are going relatively well.
No matter what God allows into our lives, may we find rest in God's love and sovereignty. May we not waver in our faith in Him due to our circumstances or our feelings, but hope and believe that there is always reason to have hope, joy and peace. May we THRIVE and enjoy life the way we were created to, and make the most of the time we have today, every day in 2019 and for the rest of our lives. We only have a short time.
I'm here with you, and I'm grateful for you!
Romans 15:13 "Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."