whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. (James 4:14 NKJV)As I have lost very dear loved ones, I have held the hand of many grieving friends, and I have prayed for people I have never met who are battling, or who love someone who is battling the BEAST, known as cancer.
I have so many thoughts running through my head and the only way to sort them out sometime's is to write them down and replace them with God's truth.
Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. (Colossians 3:2 NKJV)Especially when the thoughts are negative in nature. If one doesn't analyze their thought properly, it would be easy to fall into the pit of negativity where hopelessness and despair RULE the air.
We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; (2 Corinthians 4:8 NKJV)
As long as our mind is on TRUTH we will not be in despair. This is an easy truth to remind each other of, however, it's not where our mind goes naturally when hard things challenge us.
This week there have been a few challenges. Earlier this year I was electronically introduced to a 15 year old young man. After seeing a doctor for what they thought was strep, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I have followed him and his family since then and I am blown away! The example of faith, the example of surrender, and the example of peace have been more than moving! Yet, my heart was overwhelmed for his parents, his younger brother and his community. Trey was a strong healthy athletic young man who loved the Lord and had a REAL relationship with God. How could this happen to him and WHY? He is with the Lord now, healed forevermore! One day I will meet him face to face and he will know his life touched mine.
Next there is a friend's wife. A WARRIOR who battled the beast years ago, to become cancer survivor. The mother of three precious children, a school teacher who had a very gentle way about her. I only met her a handful of times but I knew right off that she was a gentle caregiver, who loved and adored her children. Last year she was re-diagnosed. Only this time, the beast knew how hard she would fight and it didn't hold back. She fought hard to the very end and although the battle is over, the affects of this war are devastating.
Looking into the eyes of heartache was the most emotionally painful thing I've ever done. I watched as her husband greeted hundreds of visitors one by one. He managed to crack a smile through his pain from time to time as some visitors tried to smile through tears. His two sons shook hands and hugged each person that came to pay their respects, but his daughter was the epitome of heartache. Looking at her face was unbearable, as it was impossible not to enter into her pain. She went through the motions of embracing each guest, some her own friends and some people who knew her mom. She was a perfect combination of strength and weakness. I imagine she would have been happy to curl up in a ball and weep her eyes out but she stood there honoring her mom. Again I ask, why did the cancer have to come back after so many years of remission, why are there two more sons and a daughter without a mom, and why is a man without his best friend & partner for life.
Last but certainly not least there is a new beast in town, known as ALS (Lou Gherig's disease) one of our dearest friends has been diagnosed with this horrendous disease. It has taken away his ability to swallow, and he can not eat, drink or speak. As it is progressing, holding up his own head is a tremendous chore. Walking, carrying anything as small as a can of ensure or getting up and down stairs is exhausting. Communication is still possible with the help of an Ipad keyboard. Eventually, our friend will not be able to use his hand, arms or legs. It is unfathomable to imagine him trapped in his body... And again I want to ask, WHY? Why after 9 months of marriage, why after the purchase of a new home, why...
Then in the midst of the guilt of why's, TRUTH BEGAN TO SHINE...
For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor? (Romans 11:34 NKJV)
I will never understand the mind of God... I will never be able to tell Him I know what's best.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9 NKJV)
Then it occurred to me, I was asking why, and the ones carrying these heavy burdens were not! How can this be, Lord? Why aren't they asking, why?
They are practicing one thing in common... Setting their mind on things above, not on things on the earth. (Colossians 3:2 NKJV)
How can it be that they have PEACE, facing pain, facing illness, facing death?
For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (Romans 8:6 NKJV
Through these horrible situations, I have learned what faith is and what it is not! I have seen FAITH in action.
Faith is not lying to self or others saying, "it's all good" when clearly it IS NOT Good!
Faith is not proclaiming something does not exist when it very obviously does.
Faith is not BELIEVING IN YOUR DESIRED OUTCOME, as much as it is in accepting its reality and maintaining FAITH inspite of: challenges, hardships, disappointments, or pain.
Faith is realizing that the present fades for everyone!
FAITH is believing GOD for strength to endure, even when you think you can't go on. It's knowing that no matter what, you are not forgotten, you are not alone, you were chosen, and you are HIS!