May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit
In the past month life has gotten pretty busy with Andrea getting pretty sick a visit by her family, and two visits from my family add on top of that the holidays and our change of command and you have a pretty busy month. Too busy in fact. So busy that I have found it hard to spend the time I was before in prayer and reading. Time I needed to give me strength, a habit grown out of the despair and struggle of dealing with cancer. It was not meant to be time spent to "buy" or "earn" Andrea's healing. It made me think am I trying to earn Andrea’s healing? Why do I feel that I’m not doing enough? What is the level of “spiritual” time I should have? How does this all fit together, my faith, and my study of God's word? Why does it seem to be an never ending process. In my type A mind I want to identify the problem, fix the problem and move on. Why do I feel like I'm resolving the same problems over and over, relearning the same lessons? Once I have faith is that not enough? I think not. Faith is not a one time installment in your life. I think it is more like a tank of gas, you only go so far then you need a refill. And sometimes life is more difficult and the tank empties much faster.
As we enter Andrea’s 19 month of chemo and her 40th month of dealing with cancer, I have found that time with the Lord and listening is what sustains me. And I started thinking about hope, my hope that Andrea will be healed, and hope is fueled by faith, faith that I know she will be healed. The two are tied together, faith and hope. Faith is the doorway we walk through that gives us hope. And as the Bible says hope does not disappoint. But how do we as believers fill our tanks with faith? How do we live a life of faith that produces hope in a circumstance that seems hopeless?
I do not want to walk away from this trial, no matter the outcome, and not be changed. There are many analogies to this, a furnace, a refining process, or the potters forming hands. All involve heat and pressure to exact a change, but the end product always has a higher value then the ingredients that went into it. I know God's hands our on us, and I have felt the pressure of His hands on my life as He molds me. I have felt the heat of the furnace as He refines me, and I know that He is molding me into something of far more value then what I began. That is exciting. But I have found you have to first offer yourself to the fire and you have to trust yourself in the hands of the potter. You can’t step into this as the clay and tell the potter how to do his work. You must abandon yourself and totally trust him.
Abandonment and trust are the key ingredients we bring to the process of living with faith. Abandoning requires us to let go of what we want or how we think it should turn out or the way we think it should go. It is one of the hardest things to do because we want to be in control and we do have desires. We have to know God may give us those desires or He may have something better for us. Maybe He needs us to be a witness in a trial. Are we willing? Will we follow Him when He leads us to places we don't want to go? Like the Bible says, “Be a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”
To abandon yourself you must trust the one who is leading.
Andrea’s cancer has been a fiery furnace that is purifying our life and our faith. And I know that God will not spare us from future trials but will continue this refining process. It is not a one time deal, but an ongoing process in our life. I would not run trying to find a trial but I also would not run from one. Because I know that my God will use it to draw me closer to the purpose He created me for. And fulfilling His purpose is really my life’s goal.