I turned 56 today! Happy Birthday Joyful Sparrow!!
It seems reasonable to suppose I would arrive at this point in my journey with volumes of accrued wisdom to share with those nearer the beginning of theirs. Hence I feel obliged, as the wise sage I should clearly be by now, to offer up a pearl from the strand-full life has afforded me.
So here it is. Are you ready? Wait for it…
EVERYTHING BUT DEATH IS SURVIVABLE
This is a statement of fact. Of course I am speaking as someone who has never actually faced death, or even a legitimate near-death experience. However my imagination has certainly taken me there more than once. Those of you who have been following my blog may recall the breast cancer scare of 2014? Yeah.
Well this week, almost exactly two years later, I faced a similar scare “downstairs”—if you get me. All’s well that ends well, praise the Lord, so no need for the messy details. The crux of the matter (not to diminish the incredible blessing of health) is how my handling of this incident compares with the episode two years ago.
A quick recap of my response to the possibility of the “Big C” then: I degraded instantly into an immature and faithless amalgam of anxiety, paranoia and raw nerves. I spent two sleepless weeks spastically devouring raw juices and all the cancer books I could get my shaky hands on. I ended the ordeal physically drained and ashamed of my behavior and spiritual weakness.
How did I fare this time around? Unbelievably well ―especially for me. All I can say is, Thank you Jesus! I would love to take credit for the unexplainable calm and peace I experienced throughout the diagnostic process as evidence of substantial personal and spiritual growth over the past two years. That would be disingenuous.
For an educator, I can be mighty slow to learn at times. I have always been a go-getter; sometimes independent to a fault and often biting off more than I can chew. It seems I just recently began figuring out that I am not indestructible. Somehow, in acknowledging that reality a sense of vulnerability settled over my previously mostly-sunny disposition like a cloud. The past few years have seen fear and anxiety rise up more easily and more often than I care to admit.
My response to this moment in my journey was a gift from God, plain and simple —the gift of confidence. He truly is the author and finisher of all faith and offers peace that passes understanding to those who place their trust in Him.
You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3
As the Lord patiently leads me forward, I am beginning to grasp the truth of the familiar adage, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger”. At first glance, that statement seems so obvious it makes you wonder how it became a notable quote. Clearly any situation that doesn’t result in death makes you a survivor by definition. Still, there is real power in recognizing that only death can actually kill you.
Short of death, we get through it all. And for the Christ follower, death means eternal life in the presence of our Savior. So what is left to fear? We fear suffering in this life. Yet suffering, no matter how severe, is for a season and God promises to be by our side no matter what comes our way. He promises that His grace is sufficient to see us through, no matter how difficult the circumstance.
Therein lays our peace. Therein lays our confidence. Not in ourselves, our own strength, or even in the outcome of the situation, but in the Almighty One alone.
The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, A refuge in times of trouble. And those who know your name will put their trust in You; For You, Lord have not forsaken those who seek You. Psalm 9:9-1