CANCER! That dreaded ‘C’ word.
It’s among the most feared afflictions that plague us in this fallen world. Virtually all of us know someone who has been stricken with this horrible disease. And many of us have lost family members and dear friends to its merciless attack. Paradise has been lost for the time being, but in Christ we have laid hold of His Life to strengthen and encourage us. Christ is our life, and He saves us by His life, empowering us to walk through the dark valleys of this fallen world with this unshakeable confidence … that ours is the ultimate victory. Nothing shall ever separate us from the love of God and from His good and perfect purposes for our lives.
That’s right. We win!
In fact, if we really understand the finished work of Christ on our behalf, we have already won! Our task is simply to lay hold of that victory through faith and to walk through the sorrows, fears, and losses of this world with the glorious light of His presence within us. Of course, this walk of faith isn’t always easy, especially when we personally experience hardship and struggle. It can pummel our bodies physically and devastate our souls emotionally. We look for God amid our distress, but often He doesn’t show up the way we want Him to. It’s only when we look with eyes of faith, through the ministering presence of the Holy Spirit, that we see the invisible God. The One Who is actually more real to us than the air that we breathe (Rich Mullins). This is why the Apostle Paul called us to fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12). I like this verse, but I wish the translators had done a better job capturing Paul’s heart and mind.
His actual words are to agonize in the good agony of faith.
Wow! What a powerfully honest picture he gave us into his own suffering for Christ. He called our faith journey an agony, which captures our struggle to lay hold of God when hurt, sorrow, and fear are laying hold of us. But notice that he called it a good agony. With these two simple words, he gave us the secret to experiencing Christ’s life in our suffering. It’s the resurrection power of the warrior heart that God has placed in all of us!
Let’s be honest. There’s nothing good about enduring the agony that this fallen world can throw at us.
But with our hand in God’s, He promises that we will stand now in this evil day, and that one day we’ll stand in His presence with His own glory radiating in and through us for all eternity. Only our good, loving, and glorious Father can take what is agonizing for us and transform it for our ultimate good. Wow!
I share this with you because I have begun my own journey with that dreaded ‘C’ word.
My doctors have been watching my benign prostate tumor for 7 years, suspecting that it might turn cancerous. During a recent visit, my doctor saw something he didn’t like and so hustled me off for lots of tests. His concern was that my benign tumor suddenly had become aggressively cancerous. The tests confirmed that it had indeed turned cancerous, but thankfully the tumor was NOT graded ‘high risk’, for which we are grateful to God. But … my tumor was NOT graded ‘low risk’ either. It scored as ‘intermediate risk’, which means I must receive treatment soon. I’ve consulted with some very good doctors and clinics, and I’m formulating my battle plan to attack this thing.
They told me that my cancer has a VERY HIGH CURE RATE because it was detected so early.
That’s great news, too, but I want to be perfectly ‘Frank’ with you. Some aggressive cells have been found in my tumor. There’s potential for this battle to turn into a war. We are especially consulting with ‘The Great Physician’, not only about His willingness to heal this affliction but also His guidance to formulate my battle plan. But we must remember that God, in His sovereign goodness, sometimes chooses to not remove our afflictions because they keep us dependent on Him. When this happens, we have the unique opportunity to receive from Him all that He is to meet all that we need in an intimate way, one uniquely tailored for us (2 Corinthians 12:1-10)
Beloved, I will appreciate your prayers as we engage this battle.
Because we live in a fallen world, it’s a given that we will experience tribulation. In Christ however, we have overcome this world, no matter the circumstances we find ourselves in. We can stand victorious through any hardship or suffering that has invaded our lives through faith in Him, Who is our Life. The Holy Spirit has reminded me of the prayer that our Lord Jesus offered for us – that our Father wouldn’t take us out of the world (John 17:15). That sounds like a strange prayer until we realize that we have a mission to fulfill as the ambassadors of Christ. People are hurting as they endure this fallen world and its tribulations. Separated from God through their birth in Adam, these poor people are forced to endure those troublesome circumstances of life with their own resources. And it’s our job as ambassadors to lift up the name of Jesus and invite them to join us as citizens of heaven and share all His abundant blessings.
Beloved, none of us is immune to those same troubling circumstances. This newsletter is testimony to that.
But as children of God, we have the life and resources of the living God of the universe that we can experience personally and then express to others. In this way, we can stand amid those troubling circumstances and radiate the light of His glory to this dark and hurting world. So that they can see God in us, be drawn to Him, and then secure His Life for themselves by faith.
This is our incredible privilege and our awesome responsibility.
And by faith, this is how I plan to live in and through this affliction, no matter the outcome.
As Paul told the Philippians, I am learning to be content in all circumstances.
I know that none of this has surprised our God, and that He is sufficient to provide all I need as I journey through this world holding His hand and wrapped in His arms. For this, we praise Him and invite you to praise Him with us (Philippians 4:10-13.)
Know that you are loved beyond measure and secure in His care. Join with me in living out the motto of the Friedmann family – TRUST GOD AND KICK BUTT!