The last two weeks have been quite difficult. Almost daily somebody I know reports a new cancer diagnosis. I wonder why there are so many…
And with each one comes a flashback to our own diagnosis. It’s not hyperbole when I say I feel like I’m stuck in a hole.
I’m learning to deal with the remembering and the fear. It was more than fear though; the fear had a presence. The fear was like a pervasive odor that I couldn’t escape. With each breathe, a reminder that it was there.
After Valerie was diagnosed, I can now admit, with every ache and pain, I wondered if I too was going to be diagnosed. It seemed so shocking. There was nowhere to run away to. So we didn’t run away…we ran towards. We ran towards the One who let it all happen. We cried out to Him like a child to his father.
The hardest part was trusting that God knew. And not only did He know, but He allowed. And because of those two truths, I didn’t just want to trust – I had to trust. Honestly, that was the only thing that got us through. Regardless of the outcome, healing or death, we knew that we were held close.
This is what the Lord says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord. That person will be like a bush in the wastelands; they will not see prosperity when it comes. They will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives. But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
Jeremiah 17:5-8 NIV
We had nothing else to do but to put this Truth to the test. We decided early that we would cast everything on the Lord. We pushed all our chips to the middle of the table and we trusted. I remember praying that if God didn’t heal Valerie, then we weren’t interested in anything else.
When I think about the “trust” spoken of in the passage, it’s not a relationship between co-equals. Rather, this relationship is with God himself! It is a lesser party crying out to a greater party for help, and then taking confidence in the outcome. When you’re going through the wasteland, where is your confidence? In whom are you trusting?
Even though our trust was (and is) rooted in this relationship, it doesn’t mean there was an absence of fear. In trusting, though, we continued to give away the fear that seeks to control and paralyze. And we had to continually release it to the One to whom the wind and waves submit.
So what happened to my trust this week?
I never said this was easy… Some of it is very much PTSD. I suppose the rest is a deep empathy and sadness for those I love because I now know what it all means. Moment by moment, though, I continue to choose to release. I continue to choose relationship.
As I try to picture this trust relationship within the context of Scripture, I’m immediately drawn to the story of Passover, which celebrates the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. In Exodus 12, we see a picture of the Passover lamb, the perfect lamb that was the sacrifice for the sin of the people. It’s a picture of Jesus, who was the perfect sacrifice for the sin of the whole world.
In the Hebrew text, there is a wonderful progression:
“Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man’s need you shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats” Exodus 12:3-5
Notice the progression, from general to specific. Whether or not one is a believer, we can most likely agree that Jesus was a lamb; he was one who claimed to be the Savior. You see, in history, there are many who have claimed to be “a lamb”, or Messiah. Jesus, among them, also was a lamb. But he wasn’t just a lamb, or one of many, he was the lamb.
So you may accept that Jesus was one among many who have claimed to be a Savior, but do you know him to be the Savior?
There is a bit more, though, that is very important! Jesus was a lamb, and you may believe that he was the lamb. But is he your lamb? You may acknowledge that Jesus, the Son of God, is the Savior of the world, but is He your Savior. Here’s the thing… If He’s not yours, then you’re not His! But when you’re in that type of relationship, you can have the absolute confidence that your prayers are heard, considered, and answered! And whatever the answer, there is trust and confidence!
When life crashes in, and when the fear of death seemingly grabs you by the throat to where you can’t breathe or think, knowing that He is yours and you are His somehow makes whatever future you are facing seem doable!
I have realized again this week that it’s not a hole I am in. It’s a tunnel, and there is a way out. As I move through the darkness, there is a Light I am moving towards.
The Light is Jesus. I know, no matter the circumstances, I can trust Him. Do you know Him? Is He yours?