Tuesday, February 15, 2011

It’s often hard to thank the Lord for our cancer journeys!

By John Sykes

I have been in Hariette’s brother’s place but not as seriously. Never the less, her post is wonderfully and truly done. Giving our cancer journeys up to Him makes them endurable for ourselves, our families and our friends.

I can also now attest to the power of prayer, particularly my prayer, much like the fine prayer at the bottom of this post, to be shown what God wanted me to do with these journeys. And the mighty power of the prayers by the thousands of people who have been with me through this is and will always be very, very humbling!

Please also read this post by my wife: OK God! I got it ………. Her faith and love and companionship and trust in the Lord have always been light and salt to me as she suffered with me.

When We Feel Powerless by Hariette Petersen at devotionalchristian.com

When my brother told me he had lung cancer, my heart filled with heartache for him.  I knew his weakened health limited his options for treatment.  His emphysema prohibited anesthesia for surgery.  He only weighed 89 pounds; he wouldn’t survive chemotherapy’s affects.  His only option was radiation; with that came greater risks.  My brother knew there was nothing he could do but trust his oncologist.  He felt powerless to change his situation.  He couldn’t bring himself to even say he had cancer.  He could only say “tumor” as he went through daily trips to the cancer center for radiation therapy.

I could only listen to his anxiety.  I could only encourage him that in time, he’d feel better from the affects of the treatments.  I told him it was normal when he shared that his legs and arms felt like lead.  He could barely eat; he had to force himself.  He wasn’t hungry.  I told him when the treatments ended, he’d regain his strength.  “It will take time, but your fatigue won’t last forever.”  I prayed for him.  But I could do little else.

When we have problems beyond our control, we can feel so powerless.  We naturally try to figure out solutions, plot a course of action.  Sometimes we are able to use our God-given talents and discern what we should do.  Other times we are at the mercy of our Sovereign Lord:  With news of life-threatening disease.  The grief of losing a loved one.  The inability to take away another’s pain, relieve another’s anxiety.  We can only turn to God.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;  persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.  We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.”  2 Corinthians 4:7-11

Through each and every step of treatment, my brother never once questioned why.  He accepted the situation and trusted God to get him through it.  He was so frightened of the treatments because he was told that a fraction of a move could cause the rays to break a rib, puncture his lung and he would die.  Yet, he trusted.  He trusted that no matter what, he was in the hands of God.  He felt powerless himself, but he knew God was not.  He knew God was getting him through every day and he trusted Jesus to keep him if life on earth ended.

God’s power is not our power.  His power fills the vessels of our lives.  His Spirit dwells within us, with our spirit.  In our weakness He shows Himself strong.  He meets the weakness we have and helps us endure the trials of life.  He told us we would face difficulty…even persecution, for His namesake.  We can lean upon Jesus, and let Him reveal a portion of all He is through us.

PRAYER:  Thank you, Lord, for Your presence during our need.  Thank you for your sustaining power to get us through the storms we face, the trials that come our way.  Let us live our lives through difficulty in such a way that others see the excellency of Your power. Amen.