Matthew 10:27 reminds us, “What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.”
If we were honest, the promises of God, although encouraging at all times, become increasingly more heartening during times of insurmountable difficulty.
The promises of God come alive in inexplicable ways when we are facing challenges that seem inescapable and enduring. The past year presented such challenges to me when my mortality was threatened and my life was commandeered by a cancer diagnosis. Never before had I the opportunity to experience God’s grace as so sufficient and all-encompassing as during this time.
My weakness provided Him with abundant opportunities to reveal His majestic supremacy while His strength fortified me moment by moment. My anxious heart was filled with serenity as I watched Him work in the smallest detail of my life. The months since my diagnosis served as a stage where God’s faithfulness was showcased and observed by myself and others. If my life was a play and the scenes unfolded in rapid succession, the discerning eye would see God in His glory and marvel at His tender care and compassion for me.
The lessons I am learning during times of affliction have proved to be more profitable than the pain. Matthew 10:27 reminds us, “What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.” Jesus is quoted in Mark 5:19 as saying, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” The breadth of His faithfulness is etched within my heart and pondered in silence, but some lessons must be shared for the encouragement of others.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous; but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.
Despairing of life itself, my need for God’s intervention and deliverance was severe. In previous trials were moments of relief and the ebb and flow of my days provided moments of peace in the midst of chaos. However, because of the long-term prognosis and the chronic nature of my cancer, no such relief prevailed. Instead, as only God can do, He provided what I needed abundantly above all that was asked or imagined (Ephesians 3:20). The Spirit of God through His Holy Word, illuminated wise counsel and timely instruction throughout my journey. Prayer requests were made for guidance on many issues and specific answers were revealed in His time. Our Father used the body of Christ to help shoulder my burdens and the burdens of my family and friends. We are supported with tearful heartfelt prayers and sweet sacrificial acts of kindness.
I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.
During a time when my natural response to the ongoing trauma would have been fear and anxiety, God’s promise to carry me was experienced in a supernatural way. My Father’s love was ever present and He never allowed the reality of the situation to overwhelm or crush my spirit. His promise to carry me was experienced daily and in so doing, there was always the sense that the effect of the illness could not touch the deepest part of me, but instead my spirit was strengthened and renewed. The intensity of the cancer was rendered powerless against my spirit in the presence of God. Each relentless travail became the soil to sprout joy and enigmatic contentment and may only be attributed to the power of a new life born through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Philippians 3: 7, 8
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss
Because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.
The inevitable consequence of debilitating illness is loss. There are so many losses to be endured as the result of life-altering afflictions. There is the loss of one’s independence passions and dreams for the future. The normalcy of life is lost with the inability to ever return to what was once familiar and constant. There is the loss of relationships, hobbies and employment. Often there are financial loses causing inevitable lifestyle changes. While the physical body is literally staring death in the face, the spiritual man is embarking on an all-consuming adventure of life. There is a freedom in loss that comes when all is surrendered and God’s purpose becomes the sole reason for existence of the relinquished soul.
It becomes increasingly evident that God is fashioning a vessel for His use. Just as the silversmith must remove the dross from the silver so that it can be used, so God purifies His children, removing impurities and preparing the vessel for His righteous purposes.
When cares of the world have given way to eternal purposes, when human eyes are stamped with eternity and when the hearts’ desires are aligned with the will of God, then suffering is embraced and the transformed soul rejoices in suffering and is overjoyed when His glory is revealed.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
Because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives
And release from darkness for the prisoners,
To proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God,
To comfort all who mourn and provide for those who grieve in Zion
To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning,
And a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair,
They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.
“Father God, it was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees. I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me, and you, O Lord, answered my prayer. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places and I praise your name, O God, my Father.” In Jesus’ name. Amen.