Jul 20

Really Ticked Off

 

If you had asked me after my diagnosis whether I was angry about my situation–stage 3 cancer at age 36 with three young daughters and a husband who already had buried his first wife--I would have responded that I was not. After all, it’s not really proper for a Baptist minister’s wife to get angry, is it?

Well, let me share a couple of the things I thought and felt those first few days after my diagnosis and you tell me what you think my state of mind might have been.

When I was in the hospital after my cancer surgery, a friend came into my room and told me God was going to teach me great things through this trial. I wanted to take the IV out of my arm, stab it in hers, and tell her, “You get in the bed and learn great things from God, because I ­don’t want to learn this way.”

Of course, I didn’t actually say that to her. Instead I just smiled and hoped she would leave very soon.

A couple of days later I was waiting for the pathology report to see if my cancer had been caught early and cured, or whether it was advanced and I would need chemotherapy and perhaps radiation. Lying in that bed, I had lots of time to talk with God.

“You are making a ­really big mistake here,” I fumed. “There’s absolutely nothing You can ever do to make up for this because it is too awful. And ­don’t think You are going to pull me through this somehow and ­I’m going to go and minister to cancer patients, because I won’t do it!”

Perhaps a wee bit of anger there?

When I look back on those early days after my diagnosis, I am incredulous at some of the things I thought and felt. But I was in such a state of shock and disbelief myself that I really was struggling to cope. At one point I was so distraught, that I told my husband “I guess God really doesn’t love me.”

I don’t remember saying it and find it hard to believe I was actually that despondent, but I know my husband isn’t making things up.

So as I look back on those dark days after diagnosis, I realize I experienced a bevy of emotions: shock, disbelief, denial, disappointment, frustration, sadness, worry and yes, anger.

I didn’t have anyone at the time who I felt comfortable “burdening” with my anger, so I just kept taking it to God. The Bible says He can read our minds (Psalm 139:1-4) so I figured I might as well just say all the awful things I was thinking and feeling because He knew them anyway.

Maybe you’re not as angry as I was; perhaps you’re only just a little ticked. Then again, maybe “rage” better describes what you’re feeling today.

Where can you go to dump it?

I suggest you run where all of us with great suffering need to run: to the only One whose shoulders are broad enough, whose arms are strong enough and whose love is deep enough.

“It’s all right—questions, pain, and stabbing anger can be poured out to the Infinite One and He will not be damaged…
For we beat on His chest from within the circle of His arms,” writes Anne Cetas, an author for the daily devotional, Our Daily Bread.

Can you visualize that for yourself? You crying out to God, beating your clenched fists upon His chest and Him holding you in His loving arms.

            I am exhausted from crying for help; my throat is parched. My eyes are swollen with weeping, waiting for my God to help me. Psalm 69:3

My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help? Every day I call to you, my God,
but you do not answer. Every night you hear my voice, but I find no relief. Psalm 22:1-2

And then after you’ve hurled your questions heavenward, don’t forget to go to God’s Word to find His response. A good place to start might be the promise He gave to Jeremiah, who was filled with so much grief he has been called “the weeping prophet:”

“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…”
God speaking in Jeremiah 31:3, 4 NIV

 

I believe God is the best place to turn to with your suffering. He’ll either give you the answers you seek or the peace you need to live with the questions.

My reporter-friend Cubby fought against a range of emotions accompanied by many tears when she battled breast cancer. But she says she always found hope “when I could visualize Jesus sitting next to me or holding me safely nestled in His lap.”

It was in those moments that the peace came to live with the unanswered questions.

Perhaps you would like to pray today with the Psalmist: O God, listen to my cry! Hear my prayer! From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety for you are my safe refuge. Amen. (Psalm 61:1-3)

Jul 13

When you do everything right and it still goes all wrong…

 

 

Monday morning started out great–in fact it started out perfect. My husband was fly-fishing for the day, so I wouldn’t feel as if I was ignoring him when I spent the day concentrating on my lengthy to-do list. I had plenty to get accomplished, but I wanted to make sure I started the day right.

So I headed to our flower-laden deck for a delicious breakfast of Greek yogurt, fresh berries and sliced almonds. I lingered over my cup of English breakfast tea as I read, not one, but two devotionals! As I enjoyed the colorful songbirds convening at the feeders, I prayed for each member of my family, for friends facing cancer and for others who need to know the love of Jesus. I thought to myself: It doesn’t get much better than this.

But the morning was not over.

I readied myself for a day of running shopping errands, foregoing fashion in favor of my most-reliable sandals.  As I dressed, I smiled when my shorts were too loose instead of too tight as they had been last summer. (Whenever the right size clothes fit on a six-decade-old-body, it’s a good day, right?)

I gathered all my shopping needs: reusable bags, shopping list, coupons, insulated cooler bag with a freezer pack, light sweatshirt for cold stores, circulars with store specials, and a grocery bag full of plastic bags to be recycled at Giant because our curbside recycling company doesn’t accept them. I had a plan for the most efficient way to make my four stops, so I headed into the car. I popped in an old CD and began singing along with the familiar praise songs. At one point,  tears filled my eyes as I sang about the Savior I love so much. It felt well with my soul.

It was a good morning…but it wasn’t over yet.

I parked at the Aldi grocery store and offered a woman the customary quarter for the shopping cart she was returning (FYI–you have to “rent” an Aldi cart until you return it). But the woman insisted I take her cart for free. I quickly found everything on my list. I gathered some really good bargains. The usually crowded store had no line at the checkout.  The clerk was especially friendly. A feeling of gratefulness for so many “small” things filled my heart and I whispered a prayer of gratitude to God, the giver of all good gifts.

It was a great morning…but it wasn’t over yet.

I took my groceries to my car, carefully loading the perishables into the insulated cooler. As I was getting everything settled, the plastic bag stuffed with other plastic bags blew out of my hatchback. I quickly turned to grab the flyaway bags, but another gust of wind whipped them out of my reach. Now all five bags were loose and blowing across the parking lot. I certainly didn’t want to be a litterbug, so I hurried toward them, lunging at the billowing blobs. But they escaped again. I ran to catch up with them.

That is until one of the straps on my most-reliable sandals broke. causing my ankle to turn awkwardly and me to stumble to the pavement. I hit my knee, wrenched my shoulder (which has only recently healed from a serious injury last year) and felt my low back spasm with pain. Oh, but I caught those five errant bags.

I headed back to my car and finished loading the groceries when I realized my not-nearly-completed shopping list  was no longer where I had put it as the chase began. Did I mention that on one side was my list for the other three stores and on the back was my to-do list for the entire week?

I searched everything in the back of the car without success. I began looking around the lot, crouching to peer under neighboring cars. Not easy to do with a broken sandal and shooting pains. I checked out every piece of trash which looked like white paper–and there was plenty of it–but my list was not to be seen. I finally gave up, eased my throbbing shoulder and aching back into the driver’s seat, and tried to recall all those now-missing, wonderful plans.

I did everything right and it still turned out all wrong.

Ever have a day like this? Or a week? Or maybe even what feels like a lifetime of things going wrong? Those of us who are planners get especially frustrated when life goes awry despite our organizing skills. I’m almost 63 years old and I still have the illusion that I can control life with proper planning.

But I can’t…and neither can you. Stuff happens. The wind blows at the wrong time. Old reliable lets you down without warning. You lose things you can’t get back.

And cancer comes–at the wrong time, without warning and it takes precious things away.

My Monday morning, although frustrating, disappointing and downright painful, was nothing compared to the real trials of life. I know that.  But the “small” things, as well as the “big” ones can steal our joy and destroy our peace. When I returned home a few hours later that day, my heart did not feel as light as it did when I left, my mind was not nearly as eternally focused and I had long stopped singing along to my CD.

Until I pulled into the driveway and heard Kim Hill’s voice:

Thank you, Lord, for that wonderful reminder that in You alone my heart has found a resting place. May I always find my security in You. Only in you Alone.

 

P.S. If you see any plastic garbage bags littering parking lots, they might be mine. I have sworn off ever chasing another one!

 

Jun 15

HEALING WORDS

So do retired people go on vacation or is EVERYDAY a vacation day? I think the answer must be BOTH because I’m at the beach relaxing and being refreshed body, mind and spirit. (Sounds like a vacation to me!)

While I’m away, here are some of my favorite “healing” verses (all from the New Living Translation of the Bible). I pray that neither of us ever takes a vacation from reading God’s Word and allowing His Spirit to touch us and meet our deepest needs.

Psalm 6:2

Have compassion on me, LORD, for I am weak.

Heal me, LORD, for my body is in agony.

 

Psalm 30:2

O LORD my God, I cried out to you for help,

and you restored my health.

 

Psalm 41:4

“O LORD,” I prayed, “have mercy on me.

Heal me, for I have sinned against you.”

 

Psalm 103:2-3

Praise the LORD, I tell myself,

and never forget the good things he does for me.

He forgives all my sins

and heals all my diseases.

 

Psalm 107:19-20

“LORD, help!” they cried in their trouble,

and he saved them from their distress.

 

He spoke, and they were healed—

snatched from the door of death.

 

Proverbs 3:7-8

Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the LORD and turn your back on evil.

Then you will gain renewed health and vitality.

 

Proverbs 4:20-22

Pay attention, my child, to what I say. Listen carefully.

Don’t lose sight of my words. Let them penetrate deep within your heart,

for they bring life and radiant health to anyone who discovers their meaning.

 

Proverbs 15:30

A cheerful look brings joy to the heart; good news makes for good health.

 

Matthew 4:24

News about him spread far beyond the borders of Galilee so that the sick were soon coming to be healed from as far away as Syria. And whatever their illness and pain, or if they were possessed by demons, or were epileptics, or were paralyzed—he healed them all.

 

Matthew 8:16-17

That evening many demon-possessed people were brought to Jesus. All the spirits fled when he commanded them to leave; and he healed all the sick. This fulfilled the word of the Lord through Isaiah, who said, “He took our sicknesses and removed our diseases.”

 

Matthew 9:35

Jesus traveled through all the cities and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And wherever he went, he healed people of every sort of disease and illness.

 

Matthew 10:1

Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to cast out evil spirits and to heal every kind of disease and illness.

 

Matthew 10:7-8

Go and announce to them that the Kingdom of Heaven is near. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received!

 

Matthew 14:14

A vast crowd was there as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

 

Matthew 15:30-31

A vast crowd brought him the lame, blind, crippled, mute, and many others with physical difficulties, and they laid them before Jesus. And he healed them all. The crowd was amazed! Those who hadn’t been able to speak were talking, the crippled were made well, the lame were walking around, and those who had been blind could see again! And they praised the God of Israel.

 

Matthew 19:2

Vast crowds followed him there, and he healed their sick.

 

Mark 10:52

And Jesus said to him, “Go your way. Your faith has healed you.” And instantly the blind man could see! Then he followed Jesus down the road.

 

Luke 9:1-2, 6

One day Jesus called together his twelve apostles and gave them power and authority to cast out demons and to heal all diseases. Then he sent them out to tell everyone about the coming of the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick. So they began their circuit of the villages, preaching the Good News and healing the sick.

 

Acts 10:38

And no doubt you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the Devil, for God was with him.

 

James 5:14-16

Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. And their prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make them well. And anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.

 

1 Peter 2:24

He personally carried away our sins in his own body on the cross so we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. You have been healed by his wounds!

Jun 01

Becoming the “Ideal Patient”

Are you or your loved one an ideal patient?

I’m not asking whether you do everything the doctors tell you to do. I’m not referring to whether your disease is easily treatable. And I’m not talking about whether you have the right personality.

What I do mean is this: Do you have the right blend of realism and faith as you live wondering when and if your or your loved one’s disease will be cured?

If you haven’t already reached “ideal” status, I pray I can inspire you to achieve it, and if you’re already there, I pray I can encourage you that it’s definitely the best place to stay.

I think that an ideal patient is one who believes firmly in the power of prayer and has no doubt that God can answer with a miracle. Such a patient prays for complete physical healing, absolutely believing that God can do it and feverishly praying that He will do it. But this ideal patient also recognizes that God is sovereign—He is absolute, unlimited, independent, and has supreme authority over us and everything else in the world.

Such an ideal patient understands that when we give our lives to Jesus, we give up our rights and give Him the right to do whatever pleases Him with our lives. When we’re “ideal,” we pray and believe for a physical miracle, but never demand it as the only answer to our prayers.

Some people might say that our faith is decreased if we don’t absolutely “expect” a miracle, but I think it takes even more faith to continue to trust God, stand on His promises and cling to hope when we aren’t healed.

It is not a lack of faith to accept whatever God’s will is for us. It’s a true sign of faith to trust Him no matter what happens—or doesn’t happen—in this lifetime. I pray you will be an ideal patient: trusting God as you pray for His physical healing touch to come and trusting Him still if it doesn’t.

 

To believe in someone

is to have faith

In God’s ability as the Potter

And in that person’s willingness

to be the clay.

I believe in you.

May 25

Peace in the Face of Cancer

 

I’ve just received word from Tyndale House that my manuscript for my new book Peace in the Face of Cancer has been “enthusiastically accepted!” This book has been rolling around in my head for at least a couple of years and I just couldn’t really relax in retirement until I got it out.

For a long time I’ve been wanting to write a book that would be especially for those facing cancer that is not expected to be cured. You know the descriptions. Treatable, but not curable. Chronic cancer.  Always in treatment. Cancer for the long haul. 

This new book–coming out next March–even includes three bonus chapters at the end just for such folks: Why doesn’t God heal? How to dance with cancer instead of  just battling it. And how to live AND die well for Jesus.

And the really good news is that Peace in the Face of Cancer actually is written to speak to the needs of ALL survivors and their caregivers no matter where they are on their cancer journey–newly diagnosed, in treatment, living in cancer’s shadow, dealing with a recurrence or trying to buy more time.

Not sure if you’re a survivor yet?

 

The National Cancer Institute says we become  survivor “from the time of diagnosis until the end of life.” So survivors include folks who have just found out they have cancer, people who used to have cancer, and those who can expect always to have it. Pretty sure that means everybody who has ever heard those three dreaded words: You have cancer.

As I write, there are an estimated 14.5 million people in the U.S. with a history of cancer and about the same number of new diagnoses is expected worldwide this year. That’s an incredible total of survivors, but I wonder how many meet only the first dictionary definition of survive: to remain alive or in existence? And how many also portray the second meaning: to continue to function or prosper?

Between my former job, my cancer prayer support groups and my speaking-travels, I literally have held the hands of thousands of people facing this disease. I count it a real privilege to walk with hurting people, whether the ones with the medical chart or the ones standing nervously by.  But despite my huge number of cancer-acquaintances (including about 90-percent of my Facebook friends!), I never would presume I know exactly what you or your loved ones are going through. Each patient and caregiver journey is unique, but chances are good that you and I have shared some of the same feelings over the years. And chances are very good that I know someone who has been in a very similar medical situation to yours.  And I think it’s especially feasible that you, like me, at times have trouble finding peace in the face of cancer.

  It’s definitely difficult to feel peace…but it is possible.

I know it’s possible because I have been there, done that, and because I’ve known scores of others who are finding peace even though they thought they couldn’t. In the pages of Peace in the Face of Cancer,  I’ll share true, hope-filled stories to encourage you that a survivor also can be a “thriver!”

If I come to your mind, please PRAY for this book as it goes through the editing and design process and that God would use it to bring PEACE in the face of cancer to those who need to hear that message.

“Because of God’s tender mercy, the morning light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.”—Luke 1:78-79 NLT

May 18

Losing Your Faith?

 

Have the trials of life caused you to lose your faith in God? Or are the doubts starting to pile up and you’re wondering if you’re on the verge of turning your back on Him?

Oh, you still believe God exists, but you don’t feel like you can or want to trust Him anymore. The difficulties of life and especially serious health concerns can lead to a spiritual crisis in many lives.

“Doubt rises up to obscure His presence and disillusionment settles into despair,” writes Dr. James Dobson in When God Doesn’t Make Sense. “The greatest frustration is knowing that He created the entire universe by simply speaking it into existence, and He has all the power and all understanding. He could rescue. He could heal. He could save. But why won’t He do it?” [1]

Feeling abandoned by God is especially terrible to experience after you earlier felt a closeness with Him.

“Satan then drops by for a little visit and whispers ‘He is not there! You are alone!’” Dr. Dobson adds.[2]

I can’t begin to explain to you why yet another family member is sick or why your child has cancer or why you’ve received such a dismal diagnosis. I agree with you that it doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t seem right, and it certainly doesn’t feel like God cares.

But I also believe that despite life’s tough situations, we all are deeply loved by our Heavenly Father. I believe He proved that once and for all 2,000 years ago when He sent His one and only, perfectly sinless Son to die on the cross for your sins and for mine. I believe that even if God never answered another single prayer on our behalf, He already has done enough because when He raised Jesus to life, He defeated our greatest enemy: Death.

So go ahead and ask Him all your questions. As the praise chorus says: “Give Him all your tears and sorrow. Give Him all your years of pain.”

But remember, God is not required to defend His actions (or seeming inactions) to you and you may never know in this lifetime the reasons for the suffering which has touched your life.

He asks only one thing of you—to trust Him even when it doesn’t make sense.

 

[1] James Dobson, When God Doesn’t Make Sense (Carol Stream, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers), 1993,

[2] Ibid.

May 11

How Could God Let This Happen?

 

When you believe in God, it can be hard to come to terms with the fact that He has allowed adversity to come into your or your loved one’s life. Author David Biebel talks about this fact in his book If God Is So Good, Why Do I Hurt So Bad? He says there are two truths suffering people have to reconcile: sometimes life is agony, and our loving God is in control.

 

Think about it.

If God knows everything, this diagnosis did not surprise Him.

If God sees everything, He saw the bad news coming.

If God has power over everything, He could have stopped it.

But He didn’t.

 

He didn’t stop you or your loved one from getting cancer (or AIDS or lupus or Alzheimer’s or kidney disease or whatever else has afflicted you). He didn’t stop it from happening to you or your loved one or many other people and their loved ones.

But the reality is that God’s Word never promises that He will stop all bad things from happening to us. On the contrary, it promises us that He is prepared for each battle and will equip us, too.

The Message Bible paraphrases 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 this way: “We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized. But God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken.”

God is in control.

Errant cells aren’t.

Toxic medicine isn’t.

White-coated doctors aren’t.

Herbs and vitamins aren’t.

We aren’t.

 

The sooner we learn this truth, the easier our fight against cancer will be. It’s actually quite freeing once you get it right. You can relax knowing Someone else is in charge—Someone much more intelligent, powerful and vigilant than we are or could ever hope to be.

Be encouraged that this health crisis has not taken God by surprise. He is in control and knows how to equip you for the fight.

Apr 27

A Place to Call Home

 

Our world could use some good news couldn’t it? In many ways it’s a frightening time in which to be living; wars, rumors of wars, the constant threat of terrorism, the ups and downs of the stock market, violence in the classrooms, so many friends and relatives with cancer, families torn apart by abuse and divorce. Life is not only hard; it’s often downright unfair, as some people seem to have more than their share of troubles. You might even be one of those people.

I once overhead a middle-aged gentleman remark: “Every time I think I have my life together, something happens and it’s falling apart again!”

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we lived in a world where everything was fair and people didn’t get sick, and sad things didn’t happen, and nobody had to die? Who wouldn’t want to call such a place their “home?”

Did you ever wonder why there’s such a longing in each of us for just such a kind of place? It’s a longing for home, you know. A longing for our real home. You see, we weren’t created to live in California or New York or Florida or anywhere else on the face of this planet. We were created for our real home: Heaven.

The Bible describes heaven in Revelation 21:4 as a place where God “will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain.”

And why won’t there be any more tears or death or sorrow or pain? Not because we’ll have all the money we ever wanted or all the fame or all the knowledge or any other tangible item.

It’s because we’ll have God Himself.

In Revelation 21:3, the verse right before the one about no more tears, pain or death, it says: “Look! God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them and they will be his people.”

That’s why there won’t be any more tears or pain or death. We’ll have what we always really needed to be whole—the constant presence of God Himself.

The great 17th-century philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal wrote that each of us has a “God-shaped vacuum” in us. There’s a hole, so to speak in our hearts that leaves us longing for something more than this world has to offer. It’s a hole and a longing that God put in us when He created us. He knows only He can fill that hole even though we try to fill it ourselves with all sorts of other things. Some of us try to fill it by buying “stuff” or with relationships or with work or sports or with learning or religious rituals. Some even try things like food or sex or drugs or alcohol. But none of these can fill the God-shaped vacuum in us…instead they only make it bigger.

The only thing that fills that hole and makes us whole is when God fills it with Himself by putting His very Spirit inside us, one life at a time. And when God’s Spirit lives inside us, we discover our purpose for living.

A health crisis often makes us realize how precious life is and can send us scurrying to discover the meaning of life. So, why are we here?

It’s really quite simple. Do you know what it is?

We were created to praise God.

That’s right. We find true joy, true fulfillment when we realize there’s Someone bigger than us. Someone greater than us. Someone worthy of every bit of praise we can give.

We were created to praise God with our lips…and our lives.

And when we do, there’s a feeling of peace and power that comes over us that hardly can be described. It’s a feeling that reminds us this world is not our real home.

If you’ve never really had praise for God well up in your heart, we pray that you will as you read He Cares today. Revelation gives us just a teeny glimpse of what it’s going to be like in heaven standing before the throne of God with Jesus at His right hand and us telling them how much we love them.

And if you’re still trying to fill that God-shaped vacuum with other things, I pray you’ll allow God’s to fill you with Himself and satisfy that longing for your real home.

Apr 20

That’s NOT Fair!

 

Remember when you were a kid and indignantly informed your parents: “That’s not fair!”

They probably responded with some important information for you: “Life’s not fair.” Their response only made you madder!

Nobody who’s being treated unfairly wants to hear it. It’s a logical response to a heartfelt emotion. But the longer we live, the more we all realize how true that statement is. Perhaps life has been unfair to you or your loved one recently or perhaps for a very long time. Either way, life has disappointed you. Maybe if you’re really honest you’ll admit you even feel disappointed by God.

I have another truth we’d like to share: don’t confuse life with God.

In Philip Yancey’s book Disappointment with God, he writes about a man named Douglas whom he interviewed because he thought Douglas might feel a great disappointment with God. Life, as Yancey describes it, had been very unfair to Douglas. While his wife was battling advanced breast cancer, Douglas was in a car accident with a drunk driver and suffered a terrible head injury that left him permanently disabled, often in pain and unable to work full-time.

But when Yancey asked this victim of unfairness to describe his disappointment with God, Douglas said he didn’t feel any and instead told Yancey the following:

“I have learned to see beyond the physical reality in this world to the spiritual reality. We tend to think, ‘Life should be fair because God is fair,’ But God is not life. And if I confuse God with the physical reality of life—by expecting constant good health, for example—then I set myself up for crashing disappointment.

“If we develop a relationship with God apart from our life circumstances, “ said Douglas, “then we may be able to hang in there when the physical reality breaks down. We can learn to trust God in spite of the unfairness of life.”

Cancer is very unfair. Even if you “did” something to “get” it or didn’t do something not to get it, it’s still unfair. Maybe you are a smoker diagnosed with some smoking-related cancer. It’s still unfair because many smokers never get develop a disease from their habit (only about 20-percent get lung cancer). Maybe you quit smoking ten or twenty years ago and you still have been afflicted. Hardly fair.

Perhaps you didn’t get regular mammograms, PAP smears or PSAs and now you have cancer. Guess what, it’s still not fair, because lots of people don’t get those screening tests and they don’t get cancer. Besides some people get them faithfully and the cancer isn’t even detected! That seems even more unfair.

Maybe you are overweight or out-of-shape or didn’t get regular physicals and now you have cancer. It’s still not very fair because you know many others in your same circumstances with great health. Or perhaps you received the ultimate insult in being diagnosed with cancer in spite of taking the best care possible of yourself and doing everything right not to get sick.

Go ahead and say it.

It’s not fair that I have this.

It’s not fair that my loved one has this.

It’s not fair that this has happened to us right now.

Say it, but don’t be confused that life should be fair because God is.

Life is not fair, but God is not life.

 

Yancey says that “Every time a believer struggles with sorrow or loneliness or ill health or pain and chooses to trust and serve God anyhow, a bell rings out across heaven and the angels give a great shout. Why? Because one more pilgrim has shown again that he or she understands that Jesus is worth it all. God is faithful.”

There’s a law firm I once heard advertising on the radio by spotlighting people who have had awful, unfair things happen to them and then hired a lawyer to try and rectify the situation. The commercial concluded, that you, too, should call this law firm “when life hands you moments you just don’t deserve.”

I have some even better advice: When life hands you moments you just don’t deserve, put your trust in the Lord, because even when life is unfair, God is faithful.

Apr 13

Finding the Right Attitude

 

 

It’s often said that there are two kinds of people in life: optimists and pessimists. You probably think I’m going to tell you to be an optimist, but I’m not.

I think the best attitude for someone facing cancer is neither total optimism (without a doubt, I’m going to be cured) nor total pessimism (without a doubt I’m going to die), but realism (without a doubt I have a life-threatening illness and I may or may not get better, so I will plan for both).

When we insist we are going to be cured, we set ourselves up for a terrible defeat if it doesn’t happen. On the other hand, if we insist our situation is hopeless, we already are defeated before we start. I believe it’s best to be realistic and make plans to be financially, emotionally and spiritually ready to depart this life. That’s not giving up. It’s coming to grips with our own mortality, so we can really life fully without fear of death.

I believe there’s a difference between total optimism and a positive attitude. Total optimism says: “I’m absolutely, positively going to be cured.” A positive attitude says: “I hope and pray and even expect that I’m going to be cured, but even if I’m not, I will not be defeated.”

A totally optimistic attitude insists lemons will get sweeter. A positive attitude adds some sweetener and makes lemonade out of the lemons.

Author Chuck Swindoll has a wonderful description of the power of a positive attitude: “Words can never adequately convey the incredible impact of our attitude toward life. The longer I live the more convinced I am that life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we respond to it. I believe the single most significant decision I can make on a day-to-day basis is my choice of attitude. It is more important that my past, my education, my bankroll, my successes or failures, fame or pain, what other people think of me or say about me, my circumstances, or my position. Attitude keeps me going or cripples my progress. It alone fuels my fire or assaults my hope. When my attitudes are right, there’s no barrier too high, no valley too deep, no dream too extreme, no challenge too great for me.”

I pray your heart finds the right attitude—a positive, realistic attitude.