Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Hope Was Born In A Cave

     If you are just stopping in, this is the eighteenth post in my 31 Day Series:  I Wear Pink.  I was diagnosed with breast cancer on February 18, 2009.   This series is about my journey with breast cancer.  You can find the previous posts here.

Day 18:  Hope Was Born In A Cave

     An acquaintance told me if she got cancer, she would be demanding answers of God.  The first question she would shout would be, "God, why would You do this to me?   Why?"   But, it's not as though God would say, "Ooops.  My mistake.   Let Me just take that back.  Sorry to have bothered you. "
     I certainly had not expected to get breast cancer, but I never asked "Why me?"  Instead, I thought "Why not me?"  After all,  christians don't get a pass from painful experiences.
     I had a wonderful support group around me with friends and family.  My husband was great, but in reality there are things that a person with cancer just has to do alone.
     Each Sunday morning,  I share a short devotional at our church.  This is what I shared a few days after my post op appointment.  Some of our church family knew that I had cancer, others were hearing it for the first time.
Hope In A Cave
March 29, 2009

     Have you ever been in a cave?  To me, caves are dark, cold, dank, small places without much air and a pervasive smell of mildew.  Now I know that caves can be somewhat larger, and perhaps more comfortable that I imagine, but still I think I would prefer to lay on a beach in the Caribbean with an umbrella drink.
     And yet many biblical figures spent time in caves.  David wrote Psalm 142 while hiding from King Saul in a cave.  Here is part of that psalm:
"When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who know my way.  In the path where I walk men have hidden a snare for me.  Look to my right and see; no one is concerned for me.  I have no refuge; no one cares for my life."
     David is crying out to God from the bottom of his heart.  He is depressed and desperate.  He feels overwhelmed and wonders how this happened to him.  Not only is he hiding in a cave, he is living in the cave.  The place where he is living reflects the state of his emotional  well being.
     Have any of you ever lived in a cave?  I know that I have.  A cave is a place that we don't want to go; a place we never planned on being.  It is the loss of a job, a marriage, a child, our freedom, or our health.  A cave is a season of loss or worry, discontent, anger, or frustration.  A cave is a place where you feel alone.
     "So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep.  But David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.  ~ 1 Samuel 30:4
     Another translation reads:  David encouraged himself in Yahweh his strength.
     In the cave, David says to God, "Then You, oh Yahweh.  I say, You are my place of refuge.  You are all I really want in life." (Psalm 142:5)
     You see, God does some of His best work in caves.  Hope is born in a cave.  Jesus was raised from the dead in a cave.  When you are in a cave you have to trust God with your life.
     In a few weeks the church will be filled with visitors and guests for Palm Sunday and Easter, but right now, we are family.  So I will share what a few of you know.  Last month I went to the doctor for a routine yearly test and after much squashing, poking, prodding, and some radioactive dye, it was determined that I have early stage 2 breast cancer.  I did have a successful surgery.  The cancer hadn't spread to the lymph nodes, or any place else.   I have appointments with a lot of people to figure out what else is ahead of me on this journey.
     Cancer may have stunned me, but it didn't catch God by surprise.  God promises to go before us in every situation.  He knows every situation.  He knows every thought I think and every word I say.  He will not only go before me into my battle, He will go beside me and behind me.  He has blessed me with many people here and at work who have ministered to me and my family.  He has given me shoulders to lean on, ears willing to listen, and hearts to pray for my need.
     Cancer is not uncommon.  There are others here this morning that are fighting the same battle or have a loved one who is.  I pray for you every day.  Our prayer chain has been full of wounded people looking for salvation, redemption, and healing.  Not all of them have cancer, but all of them have pain.
     No matter what your need is remember this, Jesus Christ went before you and He has a Battle plan.  He knows every fear, every question, and every doubt that will rise up within you before you do.  He went ahead to scout the territory and to clear the rocky path.  He will carry you through.
O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I am far away.
You see when I travel, and when I rest at home.
You know everything I do.
You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord.
You go before me and  follow me.
You place your hand of blessing on my head.
If I go up to heaven, you are there.
If I go down to the grave, you are there.
If I ride on the wings of the morning,
If I dwell by the farthest oceans,
Even there your hand will guide me,
And your strength will support me.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
Before a single day had passed.  ~Psalm 139:1-5, 8-10

Updated:  This post was featured at Create With Joy.   Thank you!
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