Surviving

I just saw someone who is dying of cancer. I don’t know how much longer she has. I do know she’s worn out from fighting, trying, and just surviving. I know she might be content with death at this point, but would probably prefer to be completely healed and have many more healthy, painfree years with her children. I know the longer we fight this disease the less we expect to overcome it. And I know that the longer people see us fighting it, the less it matters to them. The less they pray for miracles and expect them to occur. The more they accept that it’s our time to go. And most of all, I know: That Sucks.

These people who struggle for years deserve peace, health, and happiness as much as you do. As much (or as little) as I did. I didn’t deserve to be supernaturally healed, I was just chosen for that path. These other people who are still sick could be chosen too. What would happen if God chose them to be healed too, but no one bothered to pray and believe they would be? We fail to pray for miracles when we don’t believe they will happen. We profess to believe in Christ but we don’t believe He will answer our prayers. So why do we bother praying for anything at all? Some of us are willing to pray that He will bless our finances but not that someone will walk away from her deathbed. We basically are willing to ask for help with things that we could just about do ourselves, but we don’t trust in Him to do things we obviously can’t control. Instead we believe the lies of the enemy, that there is no hope. What an insult to the Creator of the world that we would pick and choose what to believe He will do! That’s not faith in Him, it’s faith in ourselves. And none of us is worthy to make such big decisions.
Once a man named Jairus went to see Jesus. He begged Jesus to heal his dying daughter. The girl ended up dying for a bit and Jesus told Jairus, “Do not be afraid; just believe.” Then He healed the little girl. Back from the dead. He healed her because Jairus asked and believed Jesus would heal his daughter. The daughter was already dead, she certainly wasn’t expecting to be healed. (Mark 5:21-37). Was that girl more special to Jesus than our friends who have cancer today? No. 
It’s hard but necessary to believe in miracles. To expect them. To respond to the opportunity to pray for such miracles as a blessing, not a chore. I’m not sure exactly why it’s so hard or scary, but it is. When I was on my way to see this friend with cancer today I was humbled by the reminder that I haven’t been expecting to hear the great news of her miraculous recovery. I thought I should run up to her and boldly tell her I knew she would be healed. That despite all evidence to the contrary, it was going to happen. Maybe I would pray with her right then…
Instead do you know what I did? I said “hi”, “bye”, and ran off, telling myself I needed to pray more about it before I could really announce that I believed in her healing. You know why? Because it’s hard and scary to look at someone who is close to death and tell her she will live after all. Even though that is exactly what I was wishing for when I was so sick. Because even after receiving my own miracle I don’t expect to see others. Because she doesn’t give the impression of someone who is about to receive one. Oh, right, and because I am a hypocritical jerk. 
This is hard stuff, but am supremely blessed in that I have another day to try again. To try to believe that my mustard seed of faith allows me to say to a mountain, “Move from here to there” and it will move (Mtw 17:20). We will rejoice together at the amazing things He will do. And eventually every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil 2:10)

Wasted Life

I discovered an awesome show called “Extreme Weight Loss”. I watch it with tears in my eyes throughout. In the last episode I saw (season 3, episode 3) there were many echoes of statements that all people I know who have been blessed with a miracle make.

The overweight man miraculously survived a horrendous car accident. At the hospital, the doctors were stunned and repeated, “We don’t even know why you’re here”. I know those of us who survive have those thoughts too. But I also know the answer. We are hear to proclaim what the Lord has done (Psalm 118:17). That is my new career and I am thrilled to go to work each day.

Later the man was feeling bad about himself and said, “I feel like I’m totally wasting my second chance”. We all know what to do about that at this point. Ephesians 4:22-24 says, “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

His personal trainer reported, “He lost his arm but he still has that spark of hope”. We have that spark of hope too. Romans 15:13, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Finally, the trainer in the show told him, “I choose you, Buddy”. The trainer was talking about selecting the man to be a client for the show. But it is exactly what God says to us. It isn’t because we are worthy. In fact, all are invited to walk with God, but few really go through with it (Mth 22:14). Ephesians 1:4, “Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes.” It is so sweet to be chosen for this life, and I know I forget that sometimes. But if the angels can rejoice about it, so can we. And I hope you all do just that.

“In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of God’s angels when just one sinner repents.” Luke 15:10

Good and Bad

A week or two ago, I had a very bad day. I have excuses for it, but in the end I was just not being the generous, kind, loving, gentle person God made me to be. I stormed out of the house and took a drive to calm down. I found myself complaining loudly to God about all the annoying things that were going on, and I tried to remark that “this is not what I asked for”. I was pulling the “woe is me, my life is unfair” card, I know. Anyway, as I was in mid-sentence, God changed my mind and heart so I announced (still loudly, I’m still me after all) instead, “this IS what I asked for. This is exactly what I asked for.” And it was. I always made a point not to glamorize this life I’ve been given. When I begged for Him to take the cancer away, it was for His glory and so I could continue my work as a mother. I knew that both of those options are generally not highly appreciated tasks and there would be few accolades on earth to go along with them. The daily nonsense I put up with now is all exactly what I wanted and I am doing my best not to forget that.

We went to New Orleans last week. Yaacov had a business trip so the kids and I tagged along. It was the first trip with just the four of us since cancer. There were moments of craziness (all mothers remember what it’s like trying to get kids to sleep in hotel rooms…parents have to tiptoe around in the dark starting at 7pm), but a few moments that were so special, I get tears in my eyes just thinking about them. One special time was in the early morning, when Naomi woke us all up and we were too tired to get up (plus, what is a family of four supposed to do at 5:30 am in New Orleans anyway?). I pulled her into bed with Abi and me. Yaacov didn’t fit but he was snuggled up in the neighboring bed. We all cuddled and watched cartoons. The girls were warm next to me, and they giggled innocently at all the funny parts. It was a special time, another gift from the Lord. As I zoned out of the cartoon for a moment to thank Him, He reminded me like He had during the bad day: “This is what you asked for.”

I am more aware than ever that He gives us good things but still allows bad ones. He wants the best for us. He is for us. For me. For you. Romans 8:31, “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”