Oh my … what do you do when you receive a phone call that carries unexpected, potentially devastating news?
Wow … how do you respond when out of nowhere comes a diagnosis that is unexpected and cruel?
“Carol … it is cancer,” are words that I never thought that I would hear.
Cancer?! Really?!! Our family doesn’t get cancer. Don’t the doctor and his brilliant radiologist know that?
And yet the words of a kind nurse named Sue invaded my healthy world Monday afternoon, November 3, 2014, at 3:15 pm.
How dare cancer slap me in the face?!!
How dare cancer slap anyone in the face?!
“Are you sure?” were the very first words out of my mouth when Sue gently reported what the biopsy had revealed.
“I know that is not what you wanted to hear,” she quietly said as I tried to wrap my mind and heart around this new reality.
After giving instructions concerning who to call, what to do next, which doctors were the best and what to expect as far as a treatment plan, Sue, the owner of a soft and gentle voice, said good-bye and wished me well.
My hair was half dry … I had a Bible Study to teach that night … would I ever feel like eating again?
In spite of human shock there were some things that I knew.
I knew that I knew that I knew that God was with me … that this had not taken Him by surprise.
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.” – I Peter 4:12 & 13
I knew that I knew that I knew that I serve a powerful God Who is my Great Physician.
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits; who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle.” – Psalm 103:1-5
I knew that I knew that I knew that I was appointed to take the joy and hope of Christ to the dark world of sickness and cancer.
“Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways and sinners will be converted to You.” – Psalm 51:12 & 13
I also knew … that I needed my husband... so I called him and he came home. Quickly. Instantly. Immediately.
I don’t remember if we cried or not … but I do remember that we prayed and began to share a Scripture verse or two with one another. We were sobered but not destroyed … concerned but not worried … saddened but not sorrowful.
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken, struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.” – II Corinthians 4:7-10
Truthfully?! I was mad! I was mad as hell at hell and decided to fight this diagnosis the only way I knew how … with worship and the Word!
In the days since that phone call, my prayer times have become richer and more meaningful. I am learning what it means to pray without ceasing.
Since my world was invaded by a diagnosis of demonic proportions, reading the Bible is no longer a required discipline but is a time of daily delight and revelation.
Worship miraculously cuts through my raw, seething emotions and brings me into the presence of my Healer.
Enough about me … let’s talk about you.
Have you ever been in a place of shock at a turn of unexpected and undeserved events?
When was the last time that you received a phone call that took you out at the knees?
What does one do during those moments of heart-racing … adrenaline inducing … dry-mouth shock?
This is what one does … default to priorities when encountering a moment of human pain designed to detour your life off of its planned course.
When life throws that infamous curve ball in your direction, throw your hands in the air and begin to worship. I’d rather worship than wail any day.
I would rather read the Word than sit in a chair paralyzed with worry.
The simple truth is this: times of hardship and challenge are able to define one’s life in a way that days of ease and pleasure simply are unable to.
How does the definition of your life read in heaven’s dictionary?
David = Heart after God’s own heart; worshiper.
Paul = Mass murderer became prolific evangelist and one who heard God’s voice.
Hannah = Barren woman who relentlessly prayed and worshiped; God answered her prayers.
Peter = Impetuous, stubborn fisherman who became a powerful leader when filled with the Holy Spirit.
Elizabeth = Righteous elderly woman who held fast to the promises of God.
This is what I long for that holy, one-of-a-kind, eternal, final-authority-on-everything dictionary to say about me:
Carol = When life hit her hard, she worshiped the Lord and declared the Word of God.
The truth is this … when viewed through the lens of faith, difficulties have the triumphant power to be the finest hour in the life of a believer.
Just ask Sarah and Abraham …
Just ask Joseph …
Just ask Joshua …
Just ask Carol McLeod …