I had big plans for this Fall.
With my youngest starting Kindergarten, I would finally have some time to myself to do things I wanted to do. I could finally find time for a regular work-out routine. I could increase my volunteer responsibilities at church and at school. I might actually get around to cleaning out that basement closet I’ve avoided since we moved in three years ago!
And don’t forget all the writing. I had big plans for writing….blog posts, e-books, maybe even launch another blog. Seriously, pages and pages of ideas for content, series, and e-books.
What I did not plan for is cancer. But that’s exactly what happened.
I have to admit, one of my first reactions was, “Seriously, God?!…Again?!…NOW?!” I was shocked. I was devastated. I was ticked. off.
Didn’t God know that I was going to do all these things? Didn’t He know I had plans?! It’s not like I was going to sit around in front of the TV…I was going to do things–good things. Volunteer…at church. Offer my time and talents…to my kids’ school. Write…about Him.
One day, in the midst of this pity party, I received a text from a friend with this verse: The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.” (Psalm 32:8, ESV)
Huh. That was different from the other verses people had sent. You know, verses saying “Do not fear…” “I am with You…” “nothing is impossible with God…” But “I will guide you along the best path for your life?”
How could cancer possibly be the best path for my life? Could it be that God had another plan…one that was less about me and my agenda and more about Him and His plan?
In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. (Proverbs 16:9)
Please don’t misunderstand. I do not believe God gave me cancer. God is good and He does good. Cancer is not good; therefore, cancer is not from God. However, God can take something terrible (like cancer) and bring good from it. (Yes, He’s that good!)
God is eternal, which means He exists beyond the confines of time. He sees all of time at the same time. He sees the end as well as the beginning.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:15, 16)
God knew about the cancer long before I did. As a matter of fact, He knew about it long before my parents knew about me. He did not cause it, but He did allow it…for a time. And if He allowed it, He must have a plan in it. That’s just the way He works.
God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. (Romans 8:28, MSG)
I am limited in what I can do about my situation. I can follow the advice of doctors. I can go to chemotherapy. I can take care of my body. I can pray and believe for healing. But beyond that, I have little control over my situation.
What I can control is my response to it: Will I allow God to use it for good? Or will I wallow in self-pity and grow bitter over the fact that He allowed it at all? (Lest you think I’m far more spiritual than I am, I assure you I’ve had my moments of wallowing!)
I love how TobyMac puts it:
If You wanna steal my show, I’ll sit back and watch You go;
If You’ve got something to say, go on and take it away…
(watch the full song here)
If I believe that God is good…and that He loves me…and that He is in control, then it makes sense to let go of my plans. And instead of writing my stories this Fall, it makes sense to hand over my keyboard and let God write His story. I have a feeling His will be much better than mine would have been anyway!
This post is part of the series, Embracing Hope. In the coming weeks, we’ll look at why we can put our hope in God, how we put our hope in God, and what we can do when it feels all hope is lost. Won’t you come along for the journey? Consider subscribing via e-mail so you can receive new posts delivered directly to your inbox! Simply enter your e-mail address in the box to the right. To view the entire series, click here.