I watched a really good documentary last week, "The Case for Faith" by Lee Strobel. In it, he explored two questions that people commonly stumble on when accepting Christianity. The first was "Why must Jesus be the only way to God?" The second one, and the one that I have been thinking about was "Why does a loving God allow suffering in the world?"
Considering what I am going through right now, it was pretty interesting to watch. I don't question "why me?" as some others in my situation may. It is what it is. I believe that trials are things that God allows into your life to make you stronger and to purify you and make you more like Jesus. For some, it may be a test of faith that causes them to abandon the Lord. For me, it is more of a strengthener of my faith.
Why would God allow pain into my life if He loves me? The documentary pointed out that as a parent, you don't rescue your kids from every pain and trauma in life. Nothing teaches more than a little bit of pain. Of course, it is painful as a parent to see your child suffer. But it is worth it in the end if it teaches them something and/or makes them stronger for the rest of their lives. It is the same with God. I believe He has allowed this into my life for His reasons. I don't claim to know what they are, and I don't claim to know how He is going to work the situation out for the good. But the Bible says that He does (Romans 8:28), and I take God at His Word.
It is so easy to call yourself a Christian and praise God when life is going well. But what about when its not going so well? That is when the rubber of your faith meets the road. What is it going to be? Do I give up on God? Or press in closer?
Since it was the first Sunday of the month yesterday, we celebrated communion at church. While the pastors and elders passed out the elements, we sang a song with the following lyrics, "...I want all that you have for me, Jesus." In my mind, I couldn't help but question. Do I really want all that He has for me? The "good" and the "bad?" He allows both into my life. Do I want both?
Breast cancer is something that the Lord allowed into my life. I'm sure it is hard for Him to watch me go through. It is scary. In the early days, not knowing how extensive it was probably was the worst mentally. Surgery hurt. Chemo is nasty, and it has sterilized me. I'm at a lifelong risk of having my left arm swell up like a balloon. Right now, I feel like I will always be looking over my shoulder wondering if the cancer has come back. Every ache and pain makes me wonder in the back of my mind....oh no....has "it" spread?
Can I thank the Lord for that? Can I really with all honesty sing to the Lord that I want ALL that He has for me? That's a pretty bold thing to say to God, and you'd better be sure you mean it before you say it. Because it could mean a lot more than you think.
I trust God with my life. He died for me so I would not be eternally separated from Him, tormented and in anguish. He's all powerful and mighty. I was telling someone close to me recently that we tend to put God in a box. A human box. We can't begin to wrap our minds around what He is capable of doing (like creating the world in 6 days) because we put him in a box. If we can't do something, or the smartest / strongest / fastest / bravest human that we can think of can't do something, then we don't really trust God to do what the Bible says that He can do.
Even though I don't understand why the circumstances as they are, I know a few things for sure:
- God is good. (Psalm 119:68)
- God loves me (John 3:16)
- God works all things out for the good for those who love him and are called according to His purposes (Romans 8:28)
Knowing this, I can say I sing with honesty when I life up my voice to say, "I want all that you have for me, Jesus."
- That my body be strong and ready for the next round of chemo on Friday. That my blood cell counts be good so there is no delay.
- That this chemotherapy be effective in killing any cancer cells in my body.
- Complete healing. God can do it!