Oct 16 2014 Anchor Deep
“You have cancer.”
That’s a sentence that will strike fear in your heart. Cancer is one of those “Goliath” kinds of things- big, looming, loud, threatening. For anyone who hears the word cancer associated with his or her own name it’s flat out scary– even for the most faith-filled followers of Jesus. It doesn’t matter how many bible studies you’ve done, or how much scripture you’ve memorized, or how long you’ve been walking with Jesus; initially, the thought of cancer is daunting. For the next several hours my mind tried to grasp the reality: do I really have cancer? I prayed and listened. I begged God please don’t let this be so! I reminded Him that I am His dearly beloved, precious child. I even reminded Him of the many ways I serve Him in vocational ministry, teaching the bible, and Sunday school as if somehow He’d delivered this ugly package to me by mistake! I reminded Him of His own promises in His Word and just begged, and begged, and begged Him to take this thing from me because I did not want it. Because cancer. is. frightening. Yet the most frightening aspect was the crisis of faith that cancer presented me with.
So just how does one who calls herself a follower of Jesus Christ handle a crisis?
Later that weekend a dear friend came to my house with a framed, handwritten note that read:
I have unshakable faith in the perfect outcome of every situation in my life, for I know that God is in absolute control. For every crisis there is Christ.
My first thought was, “Do I actually have an unshakable faith?” “YES!” His voice seemed to shout in my heart. Unshakable faith doesn’t mean that you won’t shake. It means that whatever or whoever you’re holding onto can’t be shaken. It’s about having unshakable faith in the One and Only Unshakable God. The key to that kind of faith is to know and continually believe Him, reminding ourselves over and over again of His unwavering and unshakable truth.
I quickly accepted the reality that I had breast cancer and immediately gave it to God saying, “I want everything You have for me, and to know You better through this trial.” Just as quickly I began reminding myself of the reality of God in my life… of His great love and faithfulness to me in the past, that His all the plans He has for my life are for good, that His Truth will always trump my personal reality, and that His great name stands an eternity above all others… including the name of cancer.
Remembering who God is, what He has said, and how very much He loves you are critical precepts to conquering your Goliath. We’ve got to trust Him, rely on Him, believe Him, and cling to Him. But we will only trust whom we know personally and intimately. Therefore, we must come to personally and intimately know God and the ways that He loves us. In Isaiah 43 He tells us that He goes with us through the fire and through the storm. You will not drown; you will not be burned up, because God’s love is a protecting love. His love is also a persevering love that never gives up; and a perfecting love, always helping us to become more of who He created us to be. But, His love is not a preventing love. He doesn’t say, “I’m going to prevent you from going through the fire.” No, He says, “I’m going to walk with you through the fire.” God did not keep me from the fire, and from the flames, and from the water, and from the river. But He did go with me and stayed with me through all of it.
In Romans 8:28 God gives a promise to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose; that He will work in all things for the good. Even cancer. There’s a divine purpose in it. God takes us to new places through the school of pain, suffering, heartache and heartbreak; places where only He can go with us and reveal to us more of who He is. My friends came to chemo treatments with me, but that was as far as they could go. They could not go into the effects of chemo with me. No one could go under anesthesia with me but Jesus. No one can be in my aching heart and tears except Jesus. Only Jesus…all of the time. He takes us where no one else can go so that we understand how very much we need him, and that He is the only one who can do anything about everything that concerns us.
Jesus would never have said, “Fear not” were there not going to be legitimate reasons in this life to cause us to fear. When He said, “fear not”, He was, in essence, saying, don’t let fear consume you; don’t let it overtake you; and don’t forget who I am… because the opposite of fear is faith: faith in who God is and what He can do. Think of it as holding onto something solid, secure and immovable when all around you is a raging storm. A good sailor knows that you don’t tie your boat to the dock when a hurricane strikes. No, you take it out into the water and anchor deep. You may get tossed around in the wind and the rain, but if you’re anchored deep… you’ll weather the storm.
Do you have unshakable faith?
Think through the following questions, and honestly and prayerfully respond to God:
• Who or what is your life anchored to?
• Where do you tend to “drop anchor” when storms threaten your life?
This certain hope of being saved is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls, connecting us with God himself behind the sacred curtains of heaven- Hebrews 6:19 (TLB)
Share your thoughts in the comment section below!
You are greatly and dearly loved by The King!
…Punky continues her breast cancer story next Thursday!