Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Anticipation, Strength, Walls, and the Refining Fire

On Sunday evening, I was anticipating Monday morning. Sunday was the end of five days of feeling great! I had the opportunity to be in church and to see many of my brothers and sisters in Christ. But on Sunday evening, I thought about how everything would change on Monday morning.

The chemotherapy would change everything, I thought. The chemotherapy drugs would bring nausea, fatigue, and a compromised immune system. And ten more days of confinement to the house, except for doctor’s appointments.

I was wrong (My wife loves it when I say that!) – the chemotherapy did not change everything. It did not change the fact that God loves me and is caring for me through this ordeal. It did not change my wife’s love for me. It did not change the fact that there are many people who love us and encourage us and are praying for us. It did not change the fact that we are trusting in God and looking to Him for our comfort and provision.

The following is an excerpt from an e-mail that I sent to a friend this morning in response to some of her questions:

From some of the other cancer patients I have encountered at Lehigh Valley Hospital, and others that I have read about on the Ewing’s Listserve - especially the children - I have it easy. God has spared me greater suffering, at least for now, for some reason. We are both strong, but not in ourselves. It is the strength of the Lord. As Nehemiah wrote, the joy of the LORD is my strength. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:9 that His strength is made perfect in our weakness.

We are trying to be transparent, to be as genuine as we know how. I pray that we are not putting up any kind of front. I worked on putting up a good front for thirty years until I was saved. The first thing I remember telling my friend Bill before telling him I needed Jesus Christ, was that I was tired of putting up walls. I was good at putting up walls. I wanted to start tearing them down. I think I still have a tendency to put up walls, but they crumble much more easily these days!

Yes, I think it would be great if God could put us through the refining fire once, remove all the impurities, and have us come out as pure, shiny reflections of Christ. But that does not work for gold and silver, and it does not work for us. We are too stubborn, I guess! But thank God, He does not give up on us. He tenderly stokes the fire and keeps on working on our impurities.

Be encouraged, friends. God is in control. Surrender your life to Him and know the freedom that is found only in Him through Jesus Christ.

1 comment:

Michael Family Blessings said...

I don’t know what to say about the points you raised. I have undergone Family Blessings a lot of times now, so I guess I couldn’t put in a negative word or two. I do like how you got your views across. Good luck to you.