As some of you know, the last 3 weeks of my family’s life have been very difficult. As a child, my wife had a rare form of cancer when she was four and my 3 and a half-year-old daughter went to the doctors for a regular check-up and her labs indicated she had the same cancer. My world was rocked, my parents were on the other side of the world, and I felt powerless!
The very thought of losing my little angel left me broken inside, the tests we had to subject her to left me in tears as I watched the tears roll down her cheeks, and knowing I was unable to do anything made me want to desperately change places with her.
I never fully understood a parent’s love until I became one and I would do anything for my daughter. Being a parent can provide the best of times and the worst of times, but as much as I love my daughter, it is unfathomable to comprehend that our heavenly Father loves her even more, so why would He allow something so horrific to happen to her and all the other beautiful innocent children? Dwelling on this began to rock my faith boat as I watched children and their families in the pediatric oncology department coming out after chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery.
The doctors have been amazing and I have been satisfied so far with their diagnosis, but I and many other prayer warriors have been seeking the Great Physician for His diagnosis and miraculous cure. After the first test came back positive for neuroblastoma, I pleaded with God to spare her from going through what her mother had to endure and I asked God for the strength to endure whatever the outcome might be.
It felt as though life had stood still until we knew for sure what we were dealing with and some days we raced from hospital to hospital for this lab and then another test, and then we would wait days with no answer. Hurry up and wait turned into wait and pray. Waiting is never fun, unless death is what you are trying to delay.
Our circumstances reveal our true character by how we respond to the adversity they are surrounded by. When facing trials, the first thing you must do is take your thoughts captive because our thoughts determine the direction we are headed. The second thing you must do is begin reading and speaking the Word of God. It will bring you peace as you find all the promises of God and it will give you strength to walk through any season. The third thing you must do is maintain a pure heart, so that you don’t allow fear, bitterness, or resentment to set in.
The very things we allow into our lives shape our heart and our way of thinking. Then as we all go through difficult seasons what we have allowed into our lives will determine our response. Do you get down on your knees and pray to God, or do you turn angrily away from Him when times get tough? It would be nice if every season we walked through was a season of harvest, but if we didn’t walk through the harder seasons of plowing, planting, and watering, we wouldn’t be prepared for the harvest.
Over the last three weeks, the soil of my life has been tilled to the point of feeling scattered and broken, but it has been in this season that I have been able to draw even closer to the Lord. Learning to survive where you are is hard enough, but if you can learn to thrive in any situation, you will never lose ground and you will move one day closer towards your victory and breakthrough.
Learning how to thrive in any season begins with learning how to be thankful in every season. Knowing my daughter may have cancer made this extremely difficult, but as I watched all the other children with amputations and terminal cancer, I began to thank God and it was in doing so that I found peace in whatever the Lord’s will was. An attitude of peace in the midst of a storm allows you to see the rainbow on the other side. Peace ultimately allows you to be at one with God regardless of what you are walking through.
Peace leads to joy even in the midst of uncertainty and suffering and the joy of the Lord is our strength. Real joy is formed in the midst of some of the most difficult seasons of life. The sad reality is most will never grasp this principle thus paralyzing them to move forward or to see the good in a negative circumstance. God causes all things to work together for our good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose so if we believe the Word of God to be true then He promises to use our pain, our fear, and every tear we shed to bring forth countless blessings. Those who don’t believe the word of God to be true are only living a facade and their joy is nothing more than artificial harmony.
Knowing and believing you are who God says you are is paramount because the second you start listening to negative reports or what others say about you or your circumstances, you allow them to determine and dictate your actions and reactions. People are finite with limited understanding and power while God is omnipotent and limitless. Despite what is going on in your life, you must trust that God has you in the palm of His hand and that He has a plan and purpose for your life. Each of us has a calling, gifts, and talents and it’s often in seasons of extreme adversity where these skills are perfected either in us or through us.
Our adversity often leads to pain and while our pain is not optional, being miserable is. Trying times are not the time to stop trying; they are the time to pull your shoelaces tight and hold on to God. Yesterday we received the latest test results back and they showed no tumor and even the labs were now within normal ranges. The doctor who has been doing this for over 30 years said he had never seen two tests so drastically different, so we are believing God has provided a miracle. Miracles are a great and wonderful thing, but you rarely want to be in a place where a miracle is the only thing left to save you, but we are believing and praising God for this one. Please continue to keep my family in your prayers as we continue the protocol and remember to praise God no matter what you are going through.