Tuesday, April 10, 2018

A Challenge

This post is #56 in a year-long series ... Through this series of posts I plan to share our family's experiences during our 17-year-old daughter's year-long battle with brain cancer, which began in February of 2008. My desire is to process through the events of that year from the perspective that a decade of time has brought ... for myself, really. But if you'd like to follow along, you're welcome to join me.

Today's post is a little different.  It's an excerpt from Joni Eareckson Tada's excellent book, "A Place of Healing: Wrestling with the Mysteries of Suffering, Pain, and God's Sovereignty".  Joni has lived as a quadriplegic since her teenage years when a diving accident paralyzed her from the neck down, so she is well-acquainted with suffering.  I love the challenge included in this passage!  It's something that really spoke to me when Hannah was going through her cancer journey, and it still does today.  Here's Joni ...

"If you're facing what seems to be an overwhelming situation in your life this week, I want to encourage you to stand firm. Don't let this thing fill up your whole horizon. Don't let your anxieties swallow you up or drain your faith dry. Rather, stand firm and take action. Take it as an opportunity to do a little research of your own into God's Word. Compare Bible verses with each other; investigate the examples of Paul or Joseph or Daniel or Peter and how they dealt with bad news and suffering in their lives.

What a waste of an illness or injury if we read -- or go on talking -- day and night about that illness, that injury, and not about the God who allowed it for His own sovereign reasons.

My friend Dave Powlison has some very good advice in that regard.

Dave is a professor at the Christian Counseling Education Foundation. He's also fighting a war with a cancer that seeks to ravage his body. Used to being a man on the go, Dave has been forced to slow down and learn some new lessons in patience as he walks through this unexpected season of life. I've never had to face cancer myself [this book was written before Joni's battle with breast cancer], but as I've watched Dave, I have drawn so much encouragement, so much help and hope, just observing the way he approaches the challenges of this disease.

As you well know, cancer is such an alarming word; it immediately spreads fear and doubt. Dave has gone through the usual chemotherapy routines -- the waiting, the uncertainty, and the awful reaction to the drugs. But I'm amazed at the way he has kept his emotional balance ... and his courage.

In the face of all the fear, pain, and sickness, just listen to what Dave wrote to me not long ago:

'Joni, I have learned that for every one sentence you say to others about your cancer,
say ten sentences about your God, your hope, and what He is teaching you,
and the small blessings of each day.
For every hour you spend researching or discussing your cancer,
spend ten hours researching and discussing and serving your Lord.
Relate all that you are learning about cancer back to Him and His purposes,
and you won't become obsessed with fears and doubts.'

The truth is, in this world it's a 100 percent guarantee that we will suffer. But at the same time, Jesus Christ is 100 percent certain to meet us, encourage us, comfort us, grace us with strength and perseverance, and yes, even restore joy in our lives. Your Savior is 100 percent certain to be with you through every challenge.

The Bible tells us time and again that God is faithful, and greater is He who is in you than any ache or pain or even terminal illness.

Remember today, if you start talking about your health issues -- or any problems, for that matter -- be sure to talk also about the grace of our wonderful Lord to sustain and save!"

1 comment:

Victoria Whyte said...

Oh I love this, thank you for such an encouraging word.