«

»

Nov 23

Unexpected Blessings from God

 

 

 

 

I was always amazed when the discussion at my support group meetings turned to the blessings that had come through the survivors’ cancer experiences. Somehow the words blessing and cancer in the same sentence just don’t make sense.

I’m a very logical, rational person and having colon cancer at the age of 36 made absolutely no sense to me. But as the years have gone by, I must admit that God has used this “senseless” experience to bring blessing in my life. If you are facing a trial today that makes no sense, I pray you will believe that somehow, some way God can use it to bring an unexpected blessing.

When I returned for my first checkup in May 1991 after six months of weekly chemo, I was the ­only person who ­wasn’t there for a treatment that day. I knew I should feel happy that I had finished treatment, but I ­didn’t. As I looked around that room of people in recliners hooked up to poles with saline-solution bags, I was overcome with sadness. Some of them looked so thin and ill, and others looked so tired and afraid. I began to weep. I wanted to take away their pain, but I couldn’t. I wanted to give them peace, but I ­couldn’t.

Then God spoke to my heart: “But you know the One who can, and you can tell them about Me.”

“But I just want to put all this behind me and go on with my life,” I argued. “Besides, I ­don’t want to hang around people with cancer. It will be depressing.”

Finally a few weeks later, like a pouting child, I gave in: “I’ll do it, but I won’t like it,” I told Him.

I started the Cancer Prayer Support Group in October 1991 with four people. My intent was to have a one-hour, once-a-month meeting. That ­shouldn’t be too depressing, I figured.

But almost immediately I could see that the people coming to the group needed more support than that. Not ­only that, but I found that I actually felt better after the meetings rather than worse. So we started meeting twice a month and have been doing so ­ever since. And guess what soon became a great source of joy in my life—the support group! As the months rolled by, I secretly began to pray that I would be able to quit my public relations job and volunteer with cancer patients.

In July 1995, on the fifth anniversary of my cancer surgery, I told our congregation how God had blessed me through my cancer experience—through my friends in the support group and through my oncologist, Dr. Marc Hirsh and his wife Elizabeth, who by then had become very close friends and prayer partners with my husband and me.

I concluded with this sentence: “Someday I hope I can quit my job and minister full-time, sharing God’s peace and love with cancer patients.”

I knew it was an unrealistic wish—there was no way financially that we could afford for me to quit my job and volunteer. But less than a year later, my prayer became a reality when Marc offered me a job in his office ministering to his patients’ emotional and spiritual needs.

Since May 1996 until my retirement last year, I was a patient advocate listening to patients’ hopes and fears and praying that God would heal them physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I asked Him to bless each one, and I believed that He would. My position as a patient advocate led to the writing and publishing of several books (#6 comes out in the spring!) and a worldwide ministry to cancer patients and their caregivers.

In the year before that job offer, I had been meditating on Ephesians 3:20 which speaks of our God “who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.” There is no doubt in my mind that God has done far more in my life than I could ask or imagine, and I know that He can do that in your life too.

Do I think He’s going to give you a job as a patient advocate for your oncologist? Probably not. (Except for you, Karen Wineholt!)

Do I think He is able to do something equally amazing in your life? You bet I do.

I ­can’t tell you how, when, or where God will bring a blessing through your trial of suffering. But I can tell you why—because His Word promises He will.

Romans 8:28 says: And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose..

God will bring blessing through your trial because you matter greatly to Him and He longs to show you that. He may bless you with physical healing, or He may bless you by healing you emotionally of some deep-seated hurts. He may bless you spiritually with the joy of knowing Him in a way you never have before. Or He may bless others through you in unimaginable ways.

My blessing from cancer is certainly not the one I sought, but because God knows me and loves me, He knew how to bless me.

He knows you. He loves you. He can bless you through your trial. . . if you let Him decide the blessing.

(Don’t miss the song below–it’s a beautiful one and I’ve included the words at the end of this blog.)

 

“Blessings”
Written by Liz Story • Copyright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group

 

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
And all the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things’Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your word is not enough
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe

‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not,
This is not our home
It’s not our home

‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near

What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise