Monday, July 19, 2010

There's a song that has been running on repeat in my head lately - some of you may know it.  It's called, "If you want me to," by Ginny Owens.

Here are the lyrics:
The pathway is broken
And The signs are unclear
And I don't know the reason
why You brought me here
But just because You love me the way that You do
I'm gonna walk through the valley
If You want me to

Cause I'm not who I was
When I took my first step
And I'm clinging to the promise
You're not through with me yet
so if all of these trials bring me closer to you
Then I will go through the fire
If You want me to

It may not be the way I would have chosen
When you lead me through a
world that's not my home
But You never said it would be easy
You only said I'd never go alone

So When the whole world turns against me
And I'm all by myself
And I can't hear You answer my cries for help
I'll remember the suffering
Your love put You through
And I will go through the valley
If You want me to

This song really hits home as I think about the journey I've been on in the recent months.  I don't feel the world turning against me, but it's felt like my body turned against me.  And no matter how many amazing people have surrounded us, there have been times where I've felt very alone.  And I don't know why God has brought this into my life.  But, I also know that I'm not the same person I was when I started, and I think God is using this in my life to refine me, to shape me and mold me.

I've been thinking about Jeremiah 29:11 a lot lately:
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
So often it seems like this verse is uses as a promise that life will eventually feel good.  You know, kind of a "don't worry, the sun will shine again," kind of verse.  I've been thinking lately that it's much more than that.   I don't think the promise to prosper me and not to harm me has nearly as much to do with my physical well being as it does with my spiritual well being.  Cancer has been extremely taxing physically and emotionally, but I do believe that God is using this in my life to bring me close to him. 

Another often-quoted verse is Romans 8:28:
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
It's one thing to say those words when everything is going great.  It's been another thing to say them when things aren't going as well.  But the fact is that the verse is the same, no matter what my circumstances.  God is the same, no matter what I'm going through.  He is still sovereign, and His word is always, always true. 

That's why, to me, Romans 5:8 is the REAL feel good verse of the Bible:
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
 The fact is, God will work this cancer for my good.  And the wonderful news is, whether I see how that works out or not, He has already sent his Son to die for me.  My trust in Christ for eternal salvation is something that cancer can't take away.  Rather, it's made me even more aware of my mortality.  It's made me aware of how small I am, and how big God is.  These words between Paul and God from 2 Cor 12:8-10 hit so close to home for me:
Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
To say that I have not enjoyed cancer would be the understatement of the year for me.  Despite that, I can say that I am thankful for the ways that God has used it to strengthen my relationship with Him in the midst of it.  I can't say that I understand why I've had cancer, but I have felt His presence as He's led me through it.  He has been my refuge, my strength, and my comfort.

I've been doing a lot of thinking as all these cancer treatments are winding down, but these verse keep coming to mind over and over again, and they ring true every time!

Glorify the LORD with me;
let us exalt his name together...
...Taste and see that the LORD is good;      
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.

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