“I have loved you with an everlasting love;
I have drawn you with loving-kindness.
I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt,”
Jeremiah 31:3-4 NIV
Whatever has always been is not always what may be. This has been my experience this year. I have always been blessed with good health but this year God has reminded me that I am indeed made of dust and someday I will return to dust. My sister, Lou, often reminds me that growing old is NOT for sissies. I am beginning to agree with her. However, she has modeled for me an inner strength in the storms of her life that far surpasses any weakness that she could possibly ever experience. She may be my sister but she is in no way a sissy! Gratitude and grace define her outlook on life. Her trust in God is simple and sure. I am blessed that God placed her in my life as a very real example of how our health can crumble but God provides all that we need and is always more than enough.
Health issues seem to test people’s faith in amazing ways. I believe this is true because we are forced to face our own mortality. I am pretty sure that when a positive diagnosis is given to any of us from our doctor it is never well received. Even if we are a “triple-ripple” Christian with the highest marks possible from those in our circle of Christian friends, we are still vulnerable and open game for Satan and his demons as we begin the process of digesting our news and choosing to trust God.
On a scale of one to ten, with ten being the worst news possible, the condition of our health is still our own personal news, it is our road to travel, and it is our thoughts that have to be reconciled. I’m pretty sure there will always be others who have it worse than us and many we know will seemingly have it better. No matter where we are in our health journey, gratitude is always a good place to start. We can be thankful for our current blessings, our blessing of the past, our spiritual blessings, and our hope for the future.
This year my news was not so good. Yes, it could have been so much worse, but the simple fact remained, God allowed me to experience a bump in my otherwise smooth road and I found that I had choices to make. Fear was a possibility, but not a healthy option. Anger was also something to briefly consider, but was not in my best interest. Throwing a pity-party for myself and inviting all those around me to attend was also something to be considered. But the time and energy necessary for that would use up all my time and I would miss sitting with Jesus and hearing his words of comfort and feeling his love. I chose to sing in the rain and dance in the storm! My dancing partner is none other than Jesus and what a wonderful partner he has been over the past weeks.
The beautiful thing about Jesus is when we regularly spend time with him we are already comfortable in his presence. We are accustomed to him leading, so now having him lead in and through the storm is not unfamiliar to a follower of Jesus Christ. We have already learned to sing with him in the rain and now the storm is the perfect place for dancing.
I love this imagery of dancing because I find that I am never alone. It is in the storm of life that he may seem closer than ever before. This is a dance to savor. I am reminded that my partner is to be trusted because he leads joyfully in love with heavenly rhythm, precision, and accuracy. Draw near to him in the dance and he will whisper sweet promises in your ear that will assure you of his sovereignty, and his unchanging and everlasting love.
I for one want to sing the praises of my partner. It was in the weeks prior to my diagnosis that it seemed to me that God was preparing me for an opportunity to trust him. After my diagnosis he surrounded me with my wonderful husband, my children, other family members, and friends who became his messengers of love. It seemed that God really prepared the way as I discovered wonderful doctors and others who touched me in unexpected ways. I must admit I do not take help from others very well. I have always been on the giving end not the receiving end. But oh the joy I would have missed if God had not allowed me to experience this bump in my road. Prayers, cards, flowers, gifts, meals, encouragement, phone calls, e-mails, and tender touches that all said I love you and I care. Please know that if you are in a new place of loss, Jesus loves you too.
At the onset of my breast cancer walk God gave me a verse of encouragement to carry me through this time when life has slowed me down a bit. “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt,” Jeremiah 31:3-4 NIV Even though those words were written for
I believe God spoke those same words to me as well. It turns out that my
prognosis is extremely good, but there were times early on when I was not sure
and decisions had to be made. It was a scary time and it was not convenient, BUT God was with me. He continues to be
with me, and he will be with me always. I know that in this situation God walked
before me. He prepared the way even before I knew what was ahead. He continues
to stand with me and surrounds me with his people. Israel
At this time it seems that things will be ending well, but I know that there will come a time when my earthly life will be over. That is why when things are going well I need to take heed and stock up on God’s Word. I need to meet with Jesus daily in a quiet place. I need to trust God with my life everyday. I need to remember how wonderful it is to sing with Jesus in the sunshine and in the rain. I need to store up all his promises. I need to do all these things so when the next test comes I will choose to cling to his promises and dance with Jesus in the storm.
I hope I will always remember to never underestimate the severity of whatever it is I am going through because it is my crisis and there are hard choices to be made. I also want to remember to never overestimate how difficult I think my circumstance is because I don’t have to look very far to see others who are suffering more. When I am vulnerable I must simply lean into the arms of Jesus and yes, try to find joy in the dance and always practice gratitude even in my moments of greatest need. I know that Satan preys on the weak and the strong. His mind games are the greatest battle I will ever face. I must remember to rebuke him out loud in the name of Jesus Christ and he will flee.
Life is always going to be far from perfect. I want to praise the One who holds my future and allows me to sing with him in the rain and dance with him in the storm!
- Are you going through a time of testing?
- Is the storm in your life about to get you down?
- Are you afraid?
- Do you see that you always have a choice to either dance in the storm or let the waves of fear and anger destroy you?
- Do you receive strength and joy knowing that Jesus is your dancing partner in the midst of your storm?
- Can you remember a time in the past when Jesus sang with you in the sunshine and in the rain?
- Does that give you courage for dancing in the storm now?
Today I just want to praise you because of your greatness. You are high and lifted up above all others. You are acquainted with pain, sorrow, loss, and grief. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made and you know every cell in my body. I praise you because you provide amazing promises for me to cling to every day and in my darkest night. I praise you because underneath me are your everlasting, loving arms. I praise you because you love me enough to trust me with an opportunity to trust you. I praise you because you send your heavenly and earthly angels to do your work in my behalf. I praise you because down the road things may not go so well, but because of my current experience I will know of your amazing love that will carry me even when things turn out to be less than what I had hoped for. I praise you because this world in not my final home. I praise you because my hope for my future is firmly rooted in heaven. Yes, Jesus, I praise you!
It is in your name I pray. Amen.