There are days when…I am incredibly sad, especially as the holidays get closer.
There are days when…I don’t pray.
There are many days when…I am angry.
There are many days when…I don’t understand His plan and why hurt, pain, and disease continues.
There are Sundays when…I just can’t get out of bed. It has nothing to do with being lazy, not wanting to worship, or the choice to do other things. It is just a feeling of walking into His house so downtrodden.
Does that make me any less than who I am in Christ? I don’t think so.
One of my favorite devotion books is New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp. What I read this morning hit me smack in the feels!
“Biblical faith never requires you to deny reality.
You don’t protect the message of the gospel by denying your own spiritual struggles, and God surely doesn’t need you to defend his reputation by faking it. You must not meditate on the judgment of God. You must not squirm at the thought of his presence. You must not allow yourself to wonder if he loves you. You must not see yourself as unworthy of his care. You must not work to measure up in his sight. You must not think that he acts more favorably to you when you are obedient than when you sin. You must not beat yourself up when you fail. You must not envy the worthiness of the person next to you, as if he or she is more accepted by God because he or she is more spiritually mature than you. You must never run from God in fear as you think of the empirical evidence of remaining sin that you give every day.
There is nothing we could ever think, desire, say, or do that could in any way add to the forgiveness and acceptance that we have received from God based on Christ’s work. You are perfect in the eyes of God because the perfect righteousness of Jesus has been attributed to your spiritual account. You are righteous before God even in those moments when you say what you are doing is not righteous. You measure up in his eyes in even on those days when you don’t measure up, because Jesus measured up on your behalf. Meditate on and celebrate the amazing grace that has completely changed your identity, potential, and destiny.”
It is not my story, my husband’s, or Trey’s that I want you to hear. It’s the story of a like-minded family in Christ who loves the Lord and is struggling like we did 10 years ago – Mike and Beth O’Neill. When I said I get angry, this is why. I hate what cancer is doing to this precious family and I can’t fix it. I can’t heal him, I can’t send him where he will get better treatment, and I can’t change any circumstance that is surrounding their struggles. They walked with us EACH day when Trey battled his cancer and they have continued to pray for us.
Is it okay for me to be angry? Absolutely. I asked the person who walked with us just as close as a family member, (Pastor) Keith Cochran. I consider him family. I asked him about anger. He said, “Yes, I was angry at cancer for affecting another life. Angry at how people try to personalize it. You know, the “I know how you feel, my grandfather had cancer…” It’s not the same. Even if it is, it doesn’t help. People mean well, but either say the wrong thing or say nothing.” I told Keith he was right on point. I put my anger in the category with sadness and hurt…not hate.
I don’t have an answer because I could honestly be eaten up with anger if I let cancer be the source. Sometimes it is just hard to accept that God’s plan is not our plan. Personally, it is hard to see my husband continue to battle cancer, go to treatments every three weeks, and know that Collin must think about it too. I don’t think Satan wears me down. I think I wear myself down. I let my ankle pain and the fact that I have been in a boot since April (after surgery in September) push me into a more depressive state. And then I get angry at myself for being depressed!
I want to go back to what my devotion said. “Biblical faith never requires you to deny reality.” What I need to remember, while my reality may shake my emotions to the point of anger, it will never shake my faith. Never. Christ is my center and he needs me to turn my focus off my reality (that sometimes sucks).
“I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” John 16:33
Please join me in praying for the O’Neill family. And remember, as I have said many times, it is okay to NOT be okay.
Oh, did I say I hate cancer?
CaringBridge link for Mike O’Neill below I hope you can access.