If there is one thing I have been learning and relearning this last year it's patient endurance. There has been much uncertainty and waiting in our life. We wait for doctors, scans, tests, treatments, tests to confirm tests, then we wait in between for the next round of tests. It's been around 17 months going through the cancer journey. We've had to face fear and doubt. We've taken risks in treatment. And in all things we keep praying moment by moment and day by day. Our need for God to act is very clear. We cry out to Him. We talk with Him daily pleading our cause. Have you ever been in a circumstance like this?
I feel like we are a tool on an anvil. It's heating up and BANG! Ouch! Another heating in the oven and then BANG! Over the last couple months there were several moments in our circumstances that heated up. We were concerned, fearful at times and uncertain of what's next. Wave after wave of these moments continued to happen to us.
The same day after an appointment where we found out that Laina now has six tumors in her brain growing quickly, I had to go to an appointment because my leg had been hurting for two weeks and I was not walking well. I assumed a muscle cramp, but a PT wouldn't take me in without an order from my doctor. As I sat with the doctor she looked concerned. She said it could by a muscle cramp or it could be a blood clot. She continued, "if it is a blood clot we have to get an ultrasound promptly. A blood clot, if released could go to your lungs or heart and you could die."
"I don't need that right now, I told her." So I went to the hospital for an ultrasound. I laid there alone, because Laina was at chemo with her mom. I began wondering what will become of this? Lord why so much testing and trial right now? Is this spiritual warfare? The ultrasound technician did a thorough exam of my legs and other areas. Her face looked serious, focused and concerned. I felt my blood pressure rise. "Lord, this is nuts! I release everything to you Lord. It's out of my control!" I then laid there as the technician completed her scans. She then sat back and smiled, "Your all clear!" "Praise the Lord!" I said. Then I asked her, "Why was your face so concerned and contorted during the scan? I thought it was serious." She responded, "Yes, other people have told me that too. I'm just focused."
This is only one example of the many things our family has been going through. A couple weeks ago, my body broke out in a rash. I began feeling like Job. I visited a couple of doctors and found it wasn't serious, but just annoying. And it's all cleared up now. Through it all I recognized, I am being shaped by the hands of the living God. I've been learning to take these trials moment by moment and day by day, trusting in the Living God who is active in our lives. I've been having to face many fears, even the fear of death.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Even before this whole cancer thing reoccurred, I was weary and burdened. This verse attracted me during those times and I had been praying through it a couple years prior to our current trial.
"Oh Lord, I am weary and burdened. I need your rest! I do want to take your yoke upon me and learn from you. I don't want the worlds yoke. I don't want an organizations yoke either - even if with good intensions. I don't even want the yoke of my own expectations and perfectionism! It's too heavy! You are gentle and humble in heart Jesus. I know this is true. Oh I desire this rest for my soul! Your yoke is easy and your burden light. I desire this life with you Lord. In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen."
Doesn't a light yoke or burden and rest for your souls sound wonderful?! Do you need this type of rest?
"It is good." You've heard God say this before when He created the earth and all that is in it. He created us and gave us rest right away. "There was evening and there was morning..." He established each day for us with rest.
Take a deep breath...
But what does Jesus mean by rest? A few years ago I was practicing the spiritual discipline of detachment. My intent was to detach myself from material positions and even my favorite cereal - I wasn't good a sharing it. But through these times the Lord had deeper intensions. I needed to detach myself from loving anything and anyone more than Him! My family, my job, my ministry. Though I often think of these things as "my" possessions, everything and everyone really belongs to the Lord. We can make idols of anything and anyone. Yet the Lord is to be supreme! So perhaps the rest that God is calling us to and the yoke that He desires us to carry is simply to Love God and His Son more than everything! We need to delight ourselves in the Lord! No idols. It's heavy work trying to please others either at home or at work or even in ministry. Hello?! Anyone still listening? These are difficult lessons to learn. But as long as we keep our eyes and mind fixed on Jesus and His word, we will learn from Him and grow in Him. This is what it means to follow Jesus! It's not always easy, but it's good. Do you want to be like Jesus? At first thought I'm like, "Yes! and I think of His love and his miraculous power to heal or to command demons or even the weather. But then I pause... Jesus was in conflict with religious leaders constantly. They wanted to kill him. He suffered at great cost. He was crucified on the cross and died." Do I still want to be like Jesus?
Then after reflecting a bit more I remember his resurrection from the dead! His appearing to the disciples and 500 others. He ascended into heaven and sits at God's right hand with all power authority and honor! This Jesus is coming back to rescue us! He makes all things new! He knows what is good, right and true. So yes, we follow him even through the hard, the difficult the trials and suffering. In faith we follow because He is good.
Please continue to pray for Laina's healing and all others suffering through cancer.
Oh Jesus come, hear our prayers and heal those whom we/You love!
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