Friday, January 11, 2008

Just A Song before I Go . . . How Can I Keep From Singing?

It has been a great week! God has given us many opportunities to be with friends, to enjoy our son's and daughter's basketball games, to read and play with our youngest son, to write, to attend church, to meet with small groups, to work on lesson plans for school, and -through it all - to give testimony of His grace and goodness.

Today is a quiet day. An opportunity to read, write, play with my son, and prepare for the next treatment, which begins tomorrow morning. We are looking forward to spending some time with good friends this evening, and we are anticipating a special time of prayer.

God has graciously provided friends to take care of our three children while we are away for five days. God knows and meets our needs before we can even anticipate them!

We received an e-mail from a friend who has a niece at West Point. As I may have mentioned, this young lady collected money from approximately 130 other cadets - during finals week - to buy my son a sweatshirt and to help with expenses. According to the e-mail, she has offered to make the necessary arrangements (requesting changes in protocol) so that she can be a source of encouragement for our son when he arrives. Again, God knows and provides for our needs.

We continue to be overwhelmed by the number of people who are praying for us - from many area churches, from other parts of Pennsylvania, from Mexico, Peru, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina!

We realized yesterday that is has been less than a month since we found out that have cancer. Much has transpired since then! Many lessons have been learned about God's love, grace, and provision. And the learning continues day by day . . .

Why are we so surprised when we face adversity . . . as though something strange is happening to us? Why am I so surprised when troubles com? Peter tells us to expect suffering (1 Peter 4:12). And James goes even further, telling us to "consider it all joy" (James 1:2). Joni Tada writes that the word "consider" means to regard it that way, to make a conscious acceptance of the fact. We can do that, as believers, because of what James writes in verse 3: that adversity produces endurance in our lives. It produces character. While we would all prefer to go through life sitting by a mountain lake in an Adirondack chair drinking fresh brewed coffee (or insert your own comfortable scenario here), God allows us to go through trials because He is more concerned with our character than our comfort.

An interesting by-product of our suffering is that it allows us to more clearly see, understand, and empathize with the pain and suffering of others. In the past, when I heard of others who were facing cancer, I was sympathetic, but I really didn't understand what they were going through. Now, my heart aches for them - because I know (or at least I am beginning to know)their pain, their fear, and their feelings of uncertainty. But I also understand the sovereignty of God . . .

God is in control. He is directing and ruling over our circumstances. Nothing can happen to me without God's permission. As Kay Arthur writes, every disappointment is His appointment. God allows us to suffer because He loves us and desires to see us grow in Christlikeness. He desires for us to develop character. God loves His children, and promises to be with us in our suffering. When we understand the character of God - His true character as described in the Bible - we know that He is loving, righteous, just, and faithful. We may not always understand our circumstances, but we can always trust in God who promises to see us through our trials and use them for our good and His glory.

If you have been following this blog, you have probably noticed much repetition in the content of my writing. I am aware of this. When we face trials, there are key lessons that we need to learn and need to share. Repetition is part of the learning process. It is for my benefit as well as for the benefit of those you who are learning from my experience with cancer. May God continue to teach us what we need to know about Him and about how to live for Him! It's all about Him.

One of my favorite contemporary songs is How Can I Keep from Singing by Chris Tomlin:

There is an endless song/Echoes in my soul/I hear the music ring/And though the storms may come/I am holding on/To the rock I cling/How can I keep from singing Your praise/How can I ever say enough/How amazing is Your love/How can I keep from shouting Your name/I know I am loved by the King/And it makes my heart want to sing/I will lift my eyes/In the darkest night/For I know my Savior lives/And I will walk with You/Knowing You'll see me through/And sing the songs You give/I can sing in the troubled times/Sing when I win/I can sing when I lose my step/And fall down again/I can sing 'cause You pick me up/Sing 'cause You're there/I can sing 'cause You hear me, Lord/When I call to You in prayer/I can sing with my last breath/Sing for I know/That I'll sing with the angels/And the saints around the throne

How can I keep from singing?

1 comment:

Gianelle Bendijo Covenant Marriage Seminars said...

Nice blog! I remember a blog about Covenant Marriage Seminars with a similar discussion. What a coincidence.