I'm linking up with Velvet Ashes at The Grove this week to share my thoughts on the writing prompt: Doubt. We’re bringing our doubts before a God who isn’t afraid of them.
I just found out someone I know and greatly esteem has cancer. For some reason, I feel she should be exempt from such a thing, even though she lives in one of the world's most polluted cities, eats food from a supply chain lacking proper follow-up on food safety regulations and had to get a chest x-ray from a sketchy machine every two years to get a visa to live in that city. The air she breathes is unhealthy. There are unknown chemicals in the household products she uses. She's lived a far cry from an organic lifestyle. In a way, I'm not that surprised she has cancer. That almost makes more sense than the others around me who have lived here their whole lives and are completely healthy.
Still, deep down, I feel she should be exempt. She saw the hazards, she knew the risks, but she heard the call. She counted the cost and knew that no matter what, HE is worthy. HE knows, HE sees, HE weeps with her in this trial. I want to believe that those who serve are exempt from the suffering that may come with the service. It is written:
"There is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life." Mark 10:29-30
Where is cancer in this formula? It does not add up. I fear for my friend, for myself, for my children. I, like Peter, exclaim, "We have left everything to follow you!" Mark 10:28
"Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3: 22-23
I have a feeling that if I could talk with my friend, I 'd feel encouraged. She's a woman of great faith. God is with her. He knew when he called her here that this was in store for her. (not saying He's the cause of the cancer, but He did allow it to happen and He can use it for her good and His glory...and He will!) I have a feeling that even if she knew that fighting cancer in a foreign country would be a part of the journey, she would still choose to come.
I'm taken back to a conversation I had with my Dad before we made the move here for the long haul. He said, "What if I get cancer?" I believed then, and struggle to continue believing now that my call to obey and be here trumps all of the "what ifs." I have to decide now, even as I decided then, to trust that God is good, even when it doesn't all make sense.
My heart hurts when I think of a friend who returned to the U.S. from her "long haul" and lost her Dad shortly after. I'm so afraid that could happen to me. Seven years ago, my Dad was afraid that would happen to us.
What do I do with this pain, this worry, this fear, this doubt??
I choose to believe, to trust and cling to Jesus. He says He's given us eternal life. When I stop and look at that promise, my fear, worry and doubt melt away. My heart finds peace. I hope that all the time I've given up with my loved ones will be given back to me one hundred times over in eternity with Jesus.
-I want time to ride the cotton stripper with my dad, like I did when I was Kanyon's age.
-I want time to lay in my bed next to my sister and talk for hours about nothing like we did in high school.
-I want time to take a long walk with my mom down a lonely dirt road and just be together.
-I want time to swim in the pond with my grandpa and eat my grandma's potato salad at a rickety old picnic table and watch the sunset as we pick wildflowers to fill the mason jar in her kitchen window.
-I want time to sling shaving cream at my screaming cousins as we dash around my grandparents' backyard.
-I want time to warm my hands in my pockets while sitting next to my grandpa on a ski lift while planning the best way down the mountain.
Later in the day, I pick up the book I've been reading, Cracking Up: A Postpartum Faith Crisis by Kimberlee Conway Ireton, and this just jumps off the page and completely resonates with my thoughts from earlier:
"God holds each moment, eternally present before Him, and when we stand before Him face to face, we will get those moments back, purified and perfected. We will. And if we don't, God will have something even better for us--something more than all we can ask or imagine." (kindle location 2018)
Stay the course. Focus on Jesus. He has set eternity in our hearts and we will not be disappointed.