Sunday, November 13, 2011

Teach Me to Number my Days

Unfortunately, this week I found some disappointing news this week at MD Anderson in Houston.  Apparently the lymph node that had cancer in it is unchanged from the chemo.  I suppose I could look at it positively that at least it hasn’t grown, but it seems like a lot of feeling yucky for no change.  My best bet is to get into a drug trial.  Pray that I find one here in Vegas because anywhere else would be logistical nightmare.  I trust, however, that the Lord knows what is best.

When I was given the bad news, I kept on thinking that I was so tired and I just wanted my life back.  In the days preceding my appointment, I kept thinking that when I felt better I was going to make positive changes in my life, eat better, exercise.  After I calmed down it occurred to me that this was my life, however undesirable.  I decided that I couldn’t wait to make positive changes ---I had to start now, especially if it helps to minimize the effects.

Before all this happened I asked God to help me “number my days.”  I think of when you count off at a field trip so the teacher can make sure you are there—you matter, you would be missed, you are important.  I wanted my days to matter.  This is not how I would have chosen for God to work but it is doing what I asked—it is making me feel urgency about making my days count.  I am not there yet, but I am getting there.

I have a friend who is watching her son go through some difficult times.  She too finds herself wishing that this wasn’t her life.  “This is not how I wanted things to go; this is not what I want for my son.”
The thing is that thinking that this shouldn’t be your life is useless thinking.  It is your life, whatever you are going through, and God can make good come out of it, if we just trust him.  God sees the big picture and knows exactly what circumstances will bring Glory to Him and bring more people to a relationship with Him.  When we wish against our lives and we rebel against are circumstances, we still suffer (perhaps even more), but we fail to show the glory of God.  Our suffering is wasted, so to speak.

I don’t want any part of my life, least of all my suffering, to be wasted.  None of us can afford that.  Our lives are short in comparison to eternity.  We need to “Number our days” so that every one of them counts.  The proverb says if we do that we will gain wisdom.  I think that means that we will have an understanding about our lives, its purpose and meaning.  Then perhaps we won’t question God’s design.  Or, at least when we do, we will hear the still quiet voice of God asking us to number our days and we will feel we matter, we would be missed, we are important.
Psalm 90:12
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sometimes Blooming Isn't Pretty--Yet

Sometimes blooming isn't pretty. Scientists have uncovered evidence that the first flowers had no colorful petals. Buds when they are small are tiny and less than spectacular. Although not a gardener, I have heard that sometimes it is necessary to wait until the bulb leaves turn brown and wither so you can cut them off to make room for the flowers.

Sometimes trusting God doesn't look pretty either. It is not without crying and pleading and a fair amount of fear. But if you are lucky then those buds will turn brown and wither and make way for blossoms. That takes time however.

I remember the night before I was diagnosed. The doctor had called to say that I could come in any time and she would adjust her schedule to fit mine. Yep, I was pretty sure it was cancer. I was full of fear and crying. My husband got a little angry (which I'm sure was the fear talking) and said "Don't you trust God?" I don't remember what I said in reply but it probably wasn't pretty. But later I thought that trusting God and crying are not mutually exclusive.

Just look at the Psalms. The psalms are full of the gamut of emotions--crying, pleading, worry, anger,you name it. God is big enough to take our human weaknesses and help us deal with them. We need to come to him honestly and openly with all our doubts and fears. Lay them on his alter, sacrifice the need to wallow and allow him to heal the brokenness of our hearts. In time he can take those fears and exchange them for his hope and strength. For in our weakness he is strong. Sometimes our circumstances collapse us under their weight and we fall to our knees which is exactly where God wants us. That is when he can work his miracles.

No trusting God isn't always pretty--yet. Blooming where you are planted takes time. We water the buds with our tears. We need to let our fears wither so they can be removed to make room for the flowers. Trust God, let him be your strength. The blooms will come in the dawning light of his love.

Psalm 55: 22-23
 Cast your cares on the LORD
   and he will sustain you;
he will never let
   the righteous be shaken. . .
   But as for me, I trust in you.