Well, I’m not sure why I haven’t been posting. Off the top of my head I’m not sure what all I’ve been doing. Working some on Sky, doing Morning Routines, making cards (I have a lot of friends and family with events in March), walking Quigley, going to the Y, doing Bible Class, thinking about Bible Class and writing in my journal…
I got my surgery date two days after I saw the GYN oncologist (see last blog post). It was for three weeks off (a little less than two weeks now as I write this), the only spot the doctor had open at my hospital of choice and with my regular gynecologist to assist. Even if I took the latter two out of the picture, the most I could have gained was four days earlier. So I was looking at much longer wait than I was anticipating.
During this time, Pastor John has been teaching about patience. About how patience is part of our calling, and part of our bringing glory to God — when we trust Him and wait patiently, without anxiety, tension or frustration, and then He comes through for us… that brings Him glory.
So it was pretty clear to me the moment the surgery scheduler told me it was going to be three weeks, that this was part of God’s training in developing patience.
The next day, after all the carrying on about cancer and talk of how this was going to be resolved quickly, I was a bit unnerved at the prospect that now I was going to have to wait three weeks. But I assured myself that the oncologist had my best interests in mind, and is an expert in this area. He’d looked at my charts and the tests and the ultrasound, and surely if he thought three weeks would lead to a major downturn in my status, he’d not allow this to go that long. In fact, it’s likely he knew his schedule was full when we met, because when I suggested the possibility of surgery “next week” he did NOT say it would be then. He said nothing. I started to take comfort in that…
And then realized how ridiculous I was being. Putting my trust in a mere man? What was I thinking? Yes, the doc probably does have my best interests in mind, more or less, but God absolutely and positively does, far more than any man ever could.
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love him, to those who are called according to His purpose.” ~ Romans 8:28
“I know the plans I have for you, plans for good and not for evil to give you a future and a hope.” ~ Jeremiah 33:3
He sent His Son to die for me. Of course He has my best interests in mind.
“If God is for us, who against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” ~ Romans 8:31b-32
What’s more, the doc might be able to make a good guess as to what’s going on in my uterus from the tests… but that’s all it is right now: a guess. He even said as much, adding we won’t really know what’s there until he does the surgery.
God, on the other hand, knows exactly what’s going on in there — now and in three weeks. God’s expertise — Omniscience — buries any paltry insights the doc may have gained over his years in the field.
Moreover, God could have provided a spot in the schedule far earlier, if that was the best thing; He could provide a cancellation, could have popped up a red flag, if there was trouble and we needed to get to the surgery sooner. He did not.
Because this is not about my physical condition. This is about teaching me to trust Him, to know Him, to wait in Him. To be at peace in Him.
Oh! But what if His will for me is to go through (fill in the most horrible outcome possible for the situation)?!
That morning as I had this thought… as this wretched thought wormed its way into my consciousness to torment me… I realized it was an old enemy. One that’s been a peace-killer for me my entire Christian life.
So I decided not to go down the path it was suggesting I take. Instead I told myself, “Why not wait until the event happens and then you can say, ‘This is horrible, but I know God wants me to go through it for my highest and best.’ That way I’d at least gain peace from it instead of giving myself the heebie-jeebies with something that is purely speculative.
It’s an evil arrogant thought, really. I presume to guess God’s will for me and I always malign Him when I do so, because it’s always something horrible. For example, I hear a noise when I’m home alone. And I think, Oh, no! Is that a burglar? And then, being a novelist and well versed in such things, I concoct an entire story wherein the burglar/rapist breaks in, attempts to assault me, I shoot him dead and then have to go to jail for murder where I am tormented by my fellow inmates so I can show the power of God in my strength and peace and joy.
Wow, it looks even more stupid and arrogant when I set it down like that than when I just think it. And how ironic that I’m scaring myself silly with a potential scenario I’m conjuring up as an avenue for me to bring God glory with my great strength and trust in Him. Something is not computing here.
And furthermore, look how mean I’m making God out to be. Here we’ve been studying the fruit of the Spirit as a manifestation of who God is — love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control — yet when I get in these situations the God I conjure up is stern, cruel, tight-lipped, legalistic.
“This is for your own good,” my imaginary God says. “All this stuff you don’t want to do, that’s what I have for you to do. And the things you love, and like to do — none of that. It’s only going to be hardness and sorrow and suffering for you.”
No room in that thinking for God wanting me to have an abundant life full of blessing. Or wanting to fill me with power and joy and peace.
So instead of trying to guess what awful thing this phony God I’ve created may have planned for me, I decided to concentrate instead on His goodness, His grace and His kindness. On His faithfulness, and gentleness and love.
I’ll concentrate on the fact that He’s my loving Father who has everything under control. He knows exactly what’s going on in my body right now. He could speed it up or slow it down. He could take it all away in an instant. His timing is perfect.
In 2 Timothy 3:10, 11 Paul is talking to Timothy about all the trials and persecutions he’s gone through, and ends with, “and out of them all the Lord delivered me.”
Pastor John has recently spent a number of lessons on this verse. It’s one, says he, that applies to all of us as believers. And that’s to be the focus of my thinking, not my lame what-ifs.
Lovin’ that application! Way to go!
I really appreciated your thought process on this. It is the same road my brain takes and I love how you are replacing the bad thoughts, it’s something that is so hard for me. Sometimes thinking correctly is harder than the thing we are going through.
I think that replacing process takes a lot of practice, Mary. And a lot of … patience! 🙂 while we’re learning.
Karen thank you SO much for sharing your thought process and how the Truth is always pointing us towards a loving Father who really does have every detail in his control (and our best interest in mind). I have been learning so much just reading your posts :). Praying for you as you approach your surgery.
Thanks for the feedback, azirishgrl. And for the prayers. I appreciate it.
Hi. I have never posted here before but I just read the above blog of yours (about His Plans) and saw you doing exactly what I always do. All my Christian life, if anybody talks about total committment to the Lord I worry and think, what if he wants me to do (the worst thing I can image, usually things like serious illness, alzheimers, road accidents etc, just like you). I love the way you said to think about His love and grace etc. and you are right, it is an insult to Him to think in the other way. We cannot presume He will always give us exactly what we want, but why assume He will always do the exact opposite either! Machiavelle
Thanks for the feedback, Jane. It’s cool to know that others do the same “worst case scenario” thing. Glad you found something helpful in the post.
Hello. I just found your website as I was trying to figure out if you write books that my voracious 11 yr old reader can enjoy (she loves christian fantasy books). Still don’t have an answer to that question, but I skimmed through some of your Blog posts and felt like I needed to share something with you… (Please forgive me if these are things you already know, I have not read enough here to know you very well. I just feel like I need to share this with you).
My friend who led me to the Lord in 1999 always says that FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real. That is SO true! Apply that to your situation where you are trying to ‘predict’ what God is going to do in your life, what outcome you think He might have in store for you. Obviously, like you said, we cannot presume anything. His word does say in Jeremiah 29:11 that He has plans to give us a future and a hope, plans to prosper us and NOT to harm us (for good and not for evil). He also said, in Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to Me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things that you do not know or could never figure out on your own.” That is my favorite scripture.
I wanted to remind you that we also have an enemy who’s plans are to kill, steal and destroy US so that he can ruin the plans that God does have for us. If you rebuke him, he will leave (especially when you praise/worship Jesus out loud). So many times I’ve been suddenly or slowly consumed with an assault or a creeping fear, guilt, anxiety, etc. and when I realize its there, I rebuke that fear, guilt, or anxiety directly and it leaves (many times I feel it leave & I have peace again). Then I am free to direct my focus to the Lord and truly worship Him for His grace and mercy and love.
I hope this makes sense to you. I have never really commented on someone’s blog like this, so I hope you don’t mind. It’s a leap of faith and I am hoping it will bring you some freedom. When I became a christian, I didn’t want to acknowledge that we had an enemy, but he is just as real as God. The good news is, he is defeated and so weak when we realize the power we have in Jesus. God said he is under our feet, so put him there where he belongs. I don’t like to acknowledge him much (I’d much rather dismiss him), but sometimes he needs to be dealt with. Just don’t let the enemy fool you any more with that FALSE EVIDENCE that you are telling yourself is real. God is bigger than doctors and diagnoses. We still have to walk it all out, but keep your eyes, your thoughts, and your heart on the one who loves you and He will see you through. Luke 10:19, Psalm 91:7, Isaiah 59:19, Isaiah 43:2, Psalm 61:3, II Thessalonians 3:3, Jeremiah 33:3, Psalm 3:3 (How cool is that??) Look these up and be encouraged. God bless you.
“But You, Oh Lord, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head.” Psalm 3:3 NKJV
Hi, Karen, great post! I chuckled out loud with your going to jail scenario. Yes, we writers do have vivid imaginations! 😆
I love the conclusion you arrived at. God does love us and does want our good. Because of that, I can trust Him even when it looks like the worse is happening. I’ve had a couple situations like that in the past few years.
I’m reminded of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego — their confident assertion that God is able, but even if He doesn’t deliver He is still God.
Then in 1 Peter this: “In this you greatly rejoice even though now, for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of you faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.”
Isn’t that cool? Even though they were distressed by various trials, they could greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory! I love that!
Praying for you.