Thursday, January 31, 2013

On This Day 4 Years Ago....

my true story began.
   January 31st 2009 was the beginning of a journey that I am still on today. A journey to find joy in this hopeless and lost world. I can very clearly remember my feelings on that morning. As every young bride is, I was nervous, excited and full of hope for the future. I had dreamed about my wedding since I was a little girl. What female doesn't? If I would have known ahead of time what that night was going to bring, my life would not be the same today.
   Often I have been asked, "If you could go back and change things, would you?" My answer to that would look something very similar to the article I am about to share. The author, Lesha Myers, was one of our beloved authors for the Institute for Excellence in Writing. She was an amazing woman. This is her story titled, "Cancer Blessings."

"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." (James 1:2-4)
The gals at the Look Good...Feel Better seminar I attended were talking about how cancer had changed their lives, and I mentioned how cancer has been a huge blessing to me. All of a sudden the room got very quiet and everyone stared at me. I felt compelled to continue and said how it had taught me a lot about myself and my family, increased my faith, taught me what is important in life, and brought me greater clarity and focus. The room was still deadly quite, and then one of the cosmologists changed the subject.
Afterwards, I got to thinking about this awkward moment and the truth of what I blurted out. Cancer has blessed me tremendously. It's not something I've enjoyed, suffering never is, and it's definitely something I never want to go through again, Still, it's taught me lessons that I don't think I could have learned in any other way. The verse at the top says to "count it all joy when you fall into various trials"; not if, when. All of us will suffer at some point in our lives; it's what we receive or take from the suffering that matters.
Apparently we commemorate John Calvin's 500th birthday this month, and I've read a couple of bios about him in various Christian magazines. I never realized how much the man suffered. His only child died at 22 days, his beloved wife died after only 8 1/2 years of marriage, he had malaria, migraine headaches (think—no aspirin), kidney stones (whoa!), hemorrhoids (in the days before cars—he had to ride a horse), stomach pains, insomnia, and the article says "and much besides."
When people experience severe suffering, like my cancer or Calvin's maladies, it's tempting to ask Why? or Why me? Calvin said this is the wrong question, and a better one is What for? What lesson does the Lord want us to learn? What part of our selfish character does He wish to chip away? What kind of empathy does He want us to develop (2 Cor. 1:4)? Suffering builds character. Even the Perfect Man had to learn obedience through suffering (Heb. 5:8). Why should we expect anything less?
Suffering isn't a punishment from God; it just is. It's a result of a fallen world, a consequence of sin. Yes, God can relieve suffering, and yes, He never gives us more than we can handle (1 Cor 10:13), but He is not unjust to allow us to suffer. Think of it this way: Imagine all of us running as fast as we can towards a cliff with a sheer drop-off onto a rocky ocean. When we get there, we're through—a symbol of our life and the eventual end of it. If God reaches down and changes the direction of a runner, He's not being unjust to the rest, is He? No. He's being merciful to the one, but the others are experiencing normality—at least the normality of this world since the Fall (Genesis 3)...
Suffering is a great mystery and not a lot of fun. But it is our lot (Job 5:7). That being the case, let's not waste it.
   My "cancer" came in the form of a man. A man who walked in to my life, took my hand and asked me for my future. Through the trials that followed, when this man turned around and walked away, I learned to trust the Lord more than I ever have in my life. These lessons have been tough, so very tough. Would I change them? No way!

On this day 4 years ago, I entered in to what I thought was a pretty predictable future.
On this day 4 years ago, my world became a different place.
On this day 4 years ago, my trust in the Lord began to be rocked.
On this day 4 years ago, I made a choice and a promise.
On this day 4 years ago, my life changed forever!  

For that, I am grateful.


  1. Wow, Sarah... You made me cry. I never would have wished this for you in a million years. I am so humbled by what God has done. Thank you for sharing your life and your struggles. God is, indeed, in control and He will perfect what He has begun.

  2. Love your outlook on everything that has happened in your life in the last few years! and you're pushin' forward! :) Keep your chin up, we love ya!