Life was going great at age 33; I’d graduated college and had my “starter home” built in my 20’s, and I was growing my speaking business traveling the country … then I was unexpectedly diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. This was definitely the shock of my life as I was asymptomatic and the cancer had spread undetected. How quickly life changed as stage four treatment (chemotherapy) needed to commence rapidly! It was just over a month after I first heard the word “cancer” associated with me that I had that first chemo., and was warned of total hair loss as a single young adult. I had my head shaved in the next few weeks. Rapid negative change I perceived this as. Wait, this was not “my plan” for my life!
Yet I never felt angry directly at God for allowing this to happen to me; after all we will all go through times of trouble in our lives. Why would I be exempted from tremendous pain? I think it’s perfectly normal to feel anger though when we do face adversity as we process a flood of emotions coming back to acceptance and peace. I fell in love with the song “I’ll Praise You in this Storm” by “Casting Crowns,” and kept praising and believing there was a much larger plan … and purpose … at work here. For there was; it just took time to be revealed to me!
I discovered something life-changing though – of course, “No one is happy they have cancer, but you can have cancer and still be happy!” I hope whatever challenge you are facing right now, whether it’s with your health, in a personal relationship, at work, or concern for others going through something you can still continue to draw strength from God as you draw near to him in your time of trouble. You can continue to have happiness in your life in spite of challenges too!
Nehemiah Chapter 8, Verse 10 reminds us that the joy of the Lord is our strength! The Psalms also offer many prayers, and Psalm 86 “A Cry for Help” reminds us in verses 15-17 “But Lord, you are a God who shows mercy and is kind. You don’t become angry quickly. You have great love and faithfulness. Turn to me and be merciful. Give me, your servant, strength. Save me, the son of your female servant. Show me a sign of your goodness. When my enemies look, they will be ashamed. You, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.”
Dear Heavenly Father, please comfort us as we all endure the storms of life. Please help us continue to praise you in those storms, believing your greater plan is always at work for our good. For even when we don’t understand we trust in you. Amen.
This month’s devotion is written by Joy Huber, a member of Sheridan’s Women’s Ministry Team, encouraging women to know, love and serve God.