This is from one of my old blogs, Finding My Way Home, and was referenced in my previous post. My cancer has been a long-standing problem and will never go away until I do. Praise be to God that so far, the side effects from the medications have been minimal, although trying to work out a schedule to take them has been a bit of a challenge. Time will tell if it continues, but regardless, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
Springtime in northern Michigan brings a lot of gray, sometimes rainy, days. We eventually get more sunshine than gray cloudiness but it requires patience followed by gratitude. It’s a wonderful metaphor for life. There are times when our days are gray and it seems we’ll never have the sunshine again. Today started out that way.
I made an appointment to see my primary doctor on Monday because it’s been over a year since the last time we saw each other. As is usual with these things, I had to have some blood work done prior to the visit, which I had drawn the other day. The results are available to see on their website, and being a retired nurse I wanted to see them. Some of the numbers were outside the “normal” ranges, but the most distressing one was the PSA. It was 1.0, which means it has doubled in the past two months. That result was almost doubled from the previous one. It’s an indication that my cancer may have awakened again and is growing.
It would appear I am destined to eventually have to make a choice: go back on Lupron, or decline any further injections and take my chances. I’ve been told there are some options available to “kick the can down the road”, but the choice will always be there. Given my previous experiences with the drug I’m inclined to choose the second option. I’d rather go ahead, live my life and possibly die from metastatic prostate cancer than to spend the rest of my life on Lupron. Death comes sooner or later to us all; it’s just a question of what will be the cause.
Lest you think I am depressed or simply giving up, there is a point in me telling you these things. As much as I’d like this thing to go away, the reality seems to be it never will. And as much as I’d like to think I can control the situation, the sad truth is I can’t. Yes, it’s distressing, but it’s not a reason for anxiety or depression because I have chosen to place myself firmly in God’s hand, and I know He is in control of all of this. I wouldn’t presume to understand everything He has planned for this, but I have peace in trusting it will be for His glory and my benefit.
“No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.”
If we have surrendered our lives to God through Jesus Christ we are recipients of certain promises. But we need to be careful not to interpret those promises according to our own wishes and desires. For one thing, it shows we haven’t completely put our old self to death and our claim to have surrendered completely to God is false and hollow. It demonstrates a lack of trust in God and His wisdom. And when circumstances come into our lives that don’t match up with our expectations we are at risk of losing our faith and giving our enemy Satan an opportunity to drive a wedge between us and God. We look at the above promise and if things don’t go the way we think they should, we are tempted to say, “Where were you, God? I thought you promised to never forsake me.” Satan will use that doubt to destroy us.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
We need to read promises such as this one and then carefully consider exactly what it’s saying. The temptation is to see only the part about ‘all things work together for good’ and think it means only good things will come into our lives once we become Christians. But we need to include the modifier in the second part of the verse: “who are called according to his purpose”. God will grant us good things if we are called according to his purpose. Those who truly love God will respond and obey the purpose for which he called them, and all things will work together for good so that we may accomplish that purpose. The chances are very good it won’t be the purpose to which we think we’ve been called, and it may prove to be very uncomfortable and inconvenient. The question is: will we seek to obey his purpose, or will we complain that we are not free to pursue our own?
“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
2 Corinthians 4:17,18
The apostle Paul understood that earthly circumstances have eternal consequences for those who belong to Christ. No matter what happens to us, God uses it for our benefit. When a Christian suffers the world views it as an excuse to declare there is no God. After all, if God is as good and loving as he says he is, how could he allow bad things to happen, especially to his followers? But Paul tells Christians that the tribulations and problems of this world are temporary and how we choose to respond to our circumstances will carry weight into eternity. Our response to troubles is the avenue through which we demonstrate our trust in God, but we must have an eternal perspective, knowing that our current situation will one day be over. If our trust is in God, our pain, our suffering, our sorrows will be gone, dissolved into eternal glory in the presence of God forever.
So even on a gray day like today, there is sunshine to be had. For the one who is surrendered to Christ and God, who seeks God for himself and not for the “goodies”, life itself is a reason for continuous thankfulness and gratitude. I thank God for honoring me with the opportunity to glorify him and be a living embodiment of his power at work. Even if he allows my circumstances to come down to The Choice, I will praise him for carrying me this far. For whether I live or die, I belong to Jesus Christ, and that means I win.