I have now been living with cancer for nearly seven years. I certainly have had my ups and downs during this time – undergoing chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and several operations. One of these has left me having to use crutches, permanently, to enable me to walk. But I have been privileged to have had many Christians praying for me during this time – a great blessing for which I am deeply thankful
Many have asked me how I have coped so well with all these unpleasant treatments. So I just want to share a few of the things that have kept me smiling at and through these storms of health and disability. I hope they may be a source of encouragement to others facing their own storms of life.
Remembering biblical truths
We can be certain that storms will happen throughout our lives. They are different for everyone. According to God’s sovereign providence they may be small, large, short, long, constant, hidden or public. As Christians we know that we should smile at and through them. Yes, it is difficult, but that shouldn’t stop us from doing so.
We can let ourselves be governed by feelings and emotions – anxiety, worry and sadness. We complain about our lot, feeling that our problems are worse than someone else’s. But we must not allow these fears and feelings to overwhelm us.
When we are undergoing trials it is all too easy to forget God’s precious promises. We can adopt the world’s reactions, views and explanations – instead of being drawn nearer to God by our afflictions.
But by God’s grace I have found sources of help and great encouragement – by constantly reminding myself of biblical truths, reading the Bible, attending church wherever possible, and prayer.
Walking by faith
I can smile when I remember that we are commanded to walk by faith and not by sight.
I can smile when I concentrate on the work of God in the storm and not so much on the storm itself. How we look at the storm will help us keep it in perspective and thus honour God in our walk with him.
We must learn to be patient and submissive through trials and not fight them or become bitter. Since God orders our paths, who are we to question? He wisely allows our troubles for our good. We may not understand his good purpose at the time, or even in years to come, but we must believe that it is for our own blessing. All will be revealed in heaven.
I can smile when I behold ‘the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ’ (2 Corinthians 4:6). Beholding God is not merely glimpsing him occasionally as we hurry through our busy lives. Too often we think we can handle things in our strength rather than by depending on him. We are not meant to glimpse but to gaze.
I can smile when I feast on his holiness, majesty, power and sovereignty. As we do this our storms subside – especially when we consider what Christ did on the cross for us. We should praise and worship him more.
I can smile when I remember God’s providence. ‘All things work together for good to those who love God, who are the called according to his purpose’ (Romans 8:28). Yes, all things, not just pleasant things. We need to remind ourselves that he is in control and overrules in everything.
I can smile when I have Christian brothers and sisters who will laugh and cry with me. This is also a great source of encouragement.
I can smile as I and others pray. We are commanded to cast all our
burdens on the Lord – not cast them and immediately take them back, which so easily happens when we are anxious. We should lay them before him and leave it all to him.
He may not remove our storms but he promises to strengthen us and provide grace which will enable us to cope. When I remind myself that others are holding me up before the throne of grace in prayer – and that Jesus himself is interceding for me as my great high priest –
it brings joy to my heart.
I can smile when I remember where I’m going – to a wonderful kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world (Matthew 25:34). Believers have a hope that is sure and certain. We are just passing through this life and will be going on to a better place.
So when the storms appear, and the gloomy days come (and come they will) I hope that some of these truths will be as great a source of comfort and encouragement to you as they have been to me. Keep keeping on.