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Monday, March 22, 2010

Blessing Clarification

Wow! You guys flooded my inbox with tons of comments, questions and sympathy from this morning’s post. I have to hand it you glad chatters…You are truly some of the classiest people I know. Thank you for sharing your feelings with me today. You have blessed me!

I’m going to ramble for a couple of minutes if you’ll indulge me on this topic of our sins causing our diseases or our problems. Please hear me out and please understand this is not theological debate. I’m much too tired to debate anything. This is just my soapbox and I’ll even share it with you if you’re nice about it. (smile)

The well-meaning folks who made comments about my heart in the wake of cancer really do mean well, I think. Let me just give you some background on my thoughts on this subject because I started contemplating this idea long before I was diagnosed with cancer.

Years ago, I was in a social setting talking with some other Christian moms when one friend said that she thought that cancer was caused by bitterness in people’s hearts. That was it. A comment made in the course of a discussion many years ago that set my mind to pondering this idea. Who did I know who had cancer? Did I think they were openly, flagrantly mean people? Was this even God’s character to punish people like this or to give this bad and even, deadly gift?

Stop right there. God giving a bad gift? Ummm…no, that’s against his character.

“If you then, evil as you are, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven [perfect as He is] give good things to those who keep on asking Him!” Matthew 7:11

I do not think my cancer is “from God.” I do think my cancer is God-approved. I do not feel that it is a punishment or that I’ve done something to deserve it. I honestly feel quite the opposite. I feel more blessed than I did before I had cancer most of the time. I feel more exquisitely loved and cherished by God right now more than ever. I cannot explain why. It’s just the truth.

I do not believe that washing in holy water or having a certain person lay hands on me will release God’s healing. I have done some of these types of things that others, who love me lots, have asked me to do because I love these people, respect them and want them to have hope that God hears their prayers. I believe that God can use these types of things. I believe that if God asks me to do something, it could release healing in my life. Why? This is biblical and I will obey God even when it doesn’t make sense to me.

“Then he spit on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and spread the mud over the blind man’s eyes. He told him, “Go wash yourself in the pool of Siloam” (Siloam means “sent”). So the man went and washed and came back seeing!” John 9:6-7

I don't know if this man understood what he was doing and I'm not sure he thought it would heal his eyes but I bet he thought Jesus could heal his eyes so maybe he'd try to trust him a bit.

Now, knowing my background on how we can bring cancer on ourselves is important because you should know that I blame myself for everything. I apologize profusely to everyone around me all the time and I think that anytime something goes wrong that it is all my fault and that I deserve it in some way. I am prone to take full blame for mistakes that those around me make. You know, like totally blaming myself for my children's bad decisions and stuff like that. I never really felt that about cancer, that I brought it on myself some way. So when that was suggested, imagine my stress.

A natural doctor that knows nothing about me or my character was the first to suggest this idea to me. I felt really exposed and victimized. I had come to the doctor to see if he could help me and he told me to help myself by forgiving others. (Sigh) I spend time searching my heart on a regular basis and asking God to reveal any hidden motives or grudges I might have and the thought that I hadn’t done this thoroughly was a little overwhelming to me. The thought that someone might look at me and determine that I was withholding from God threatened to take me over the edge emotionally. That is not my intention. Ever. I would never knowingly withhold from the Lord! I decided to search my heart and leave it at God’s feet.

Then when I shared this with my mother, she said maybe it was true. That hurt but maybe it was. She was sharing out of her own experiences with physical release and healing. She said every time God has touched her physically, he has revealed something deep from which she needed to repent. I began to earnestly pray again. I concluded that it was her life and her pattern. I left a comma at the end of the sentence inviting God to finish the prayer.

Other counselor-type friends and loved ones who care deeply have asked. I haven’t found offense here but I have carried frustration over it. Because let’s face it, we are humans. We want solutions. If we need a better organized home, to lose fifteen pounds or a cure to our own cancer, we want to fix it. Ourselves. And right now!

I am no different. I do take criticism personally, maybe a little too personally. I set a high standard for myself and I expect to live up to it. I am my own worst critic. I just am. That’s why this was a hard issue for me not because of what others said just because of how I personalized it. And if I could do something, anything to get rid of this cancer, don’t you think I would?!?

What I am choosing to believe right now is something that my husband and I feel God has shown us. We believe that he is using and will continue to use my cancer to bring him glory. Why? Because he’s done it before.

As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man who had been blind from birth. “Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?”

“It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.“ John 9:1-3

And, did y’all even get how sweet God was to bring Jeremiah 17 in full circle in my life these last two weeks? That was the little pink blessing I was talking about...the Jeremiah 17 charm that will remind me how God loves me enough to care.

17 comments:

Gigi said...

Yes, yes, YES Lisa!!! Everything...EVERYTHING in our lives is to glorify HIM!! Cancer is not a punishment. It is NOT something you earned or deserved!

Just as in the last Scripture verse you quoted - “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.“ - we are all seeing the glory of the Lord made manifest in your journey!

Let others think, say, believe as they will...actions speak louder than words and you live out your faith for all to see! It even ripples from the page as I read! You just keep on keepin' on, darlin'! You're doing just fine!

((hugs)) to you on this dreary, rainy Monday!

Denise said...

You are amazingly awesome my friend, love you bunches.

Laura said...

I agree with you, 100%. Only you know what God is whispering to your heart during this season. I keep praying for you, but to hear you say that you feel loved and cherished as you go through this ordeal makes my heart swell. God moves in strange ways. I'm so glad He is making Himself felt by you right now.

luv,
laura

Nana Jul said...

I believe what you and your husband believe. It is for God to show His Glory!! And it's already shining brightly through you!!
Love,
Julie

Debbie said...

I don't believe you caused your cancer. But in the midst of a very challenging time, you glorify God. He will shine through you to impact others when they ask how you're getting through this time. What an awesome opportunity! Did you ask for this? No way. But He is with you every step of the way. And your blogging friends are right there alongside you praying.

Blessings and hugs,
Debbie

Andrea said...

I agree with you 1000000000% and more!! I did not get to read your morning post. I am sorry I did not get by here. I love you, dear one. HE is FULLY in control.

Please do NOT allow anything or anyone to waste your time being discouraged. Discouragement comes from the enemy and you know that is NOT what GOD wants. It's so easy to fall into that trap. However, it is very CLEAR to each of us that GOD has HIS hand on you and HE loves you very much!

Continuing to storm the heavens,
andrea

Deborah said...

Hi Lisa: That was a beautiful post and as I tell Penny, I have no idea how you think or what you feel. I really have no idea at all. But what I do know is your love for God and your belief is so awesome to me. I keep telling Penny about your posts and how inspiring you are to everyone. Please don't let anyone hurt your feelings or make you second guess your thoughts. Only you know how you feel and you are so lucky to have a husband who has your same love of God. God does love you enough to care because he cares very much.
xxoo
Deborah

Gretchen said...

You are amazing. That is all. Soli Deo Gloria!

Bernie said...

You are still looking out for others and their ways and not yourself.....which right now is the most important. The God I know and worship is compassionate, kind, forgiving, loving and never would he make someone's cells turn to cancer, and Lisa I know you know this without my reminding you.

No one knows for sure what causes Cancer, stress doesn't help but neither does our environment.... just so many factors that the last place to think of puttinh blame is on the patient themself. There is no blame or shame in having cancer, it happens and is what it is. There are somethings in our lifetime that just may not be answered.

Keep praising God, accept his healing and know you are loved and cared for.....always in my heart and prayers.....:-) Hugs

sonja said...

Lisa:

I am almost smiling as I read this. Smiling because I know I would feel just what you have felt, but also smiling because I have seen how you are responding, to all of it. You are trusting God and asking Him to be glorified... and He is!!

As if... you would want cancer! And yet... here you are, and God is shining through you in the midst of what came your way.

You are a HUGE blessing, to me, and to all who come here.

Hugs!

Sonja

Christiana said...

My sweet friend - this brought tears to my eyes, and made me love & respect you even more than I did before.

[And I already thought pretty darn highly of you.]

You grace & courage as you are walking through this unexpected storm are inspiring. Not only are you making something beautiful out of this trial, but God is being glorified as you point to Him as the Maker & Originator of all beautiful things.

You are in my heart & mind & prayers.

Amanda said...

Lisa, Hi. I'm new to your blog. I have a couple of comments. My Mom went through a major chemical depression and people constantly told her she needed to get rid of sin in her life and the depression would go away. Even a pastor. She said she prayed day and night, night and day. But, the fact was, the depression was chemical and the Lord used the depression to radically change her life and the lives of many others. She went back to school, got a PhD and now helps others in similar situations. But, was the depression result of sin...absolutely not!

Then, I have another friend Paula. Paula's 10 year old son had cancer. People constantly told her that if she would just have more faith he would be healed. Do you know how nerve wracking that is for a Mama? She prayed and prayed and prayed, but eventually, her little baby left this world.

Please don't listen to those people, but find TRUTH in the one book that IS truth!

Holly Novak said...

Lisa - Bruce Wilkinson (author - Prayer of Jabez and renowned speaker) has been speaking at our church the past 2 weekends...he said it quite eloquently, that God will bring things into our lives (various trials, for us, cancer) to bring us closer to Him. I truly, truly believe this...after what both my husband and I went through, it's just awesome to know that God reveals Himself to us so clearly during these times and we just get closer and closer to Him. I view my cancer as a blessing...now there are so many more people that I can relate to and share how incredible God is (and was) to both Dave & myself during our journeys. And you know, I never would have come across your blog and "gotten to know you in cyber world" had I not gone through cancer. God is Good! Have a great day! And remember, you are in the palm of His hand, He is carrying you all the way!

Sandy at God Speaks Today said...

Lisa, Lisa...sweet sister Lisa. I want to just sit and have a LONG cup of coffee with you right now, hold your hand and be strong with you. Cry and laugh and listen and empathize.

We are so very, very much alike.

About an hour before my sweet Noah died in the hospital 1000 miles from home, I called my church (again) for urgent and immediate prayer. One of my pastors and very good, well-meaning friends, asked if Jon and I had hidden sin in our lives.

(pause)

Let me set the scene...my nine-month old son is literally on his death bed. I am standing in the hallway of the PICU on a hospital phone calling my home church for prayer...crying...desperate...begging for someone to please help. And the person on the ohter end of the line suggests that something I have done and not confessed may have caused the situation.

I was completely devastated. In literally, the most vulnerable moment of my life. We must be so very careful when we speak words to the hurting, wouldn't you agree?

And that was only the beginning. Once he actually died, my heart was blasted open repeatedly by many well-meaning Christians who felt the need to "help me" by analyzing my role and God's role in my only child's death.

I certainly am not perfect, but I have been existing on the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ since I was 17 years old. My life is His. My children are His.

My sin problem was taken care of once and for all on the Cross. I refuse to believe that His grace is not sufficient to cover my sin. I do not need to walk in guilt, shame or condemnation thinking that somehow a hidden sin--a sin hidden from ME!--slipped through the cracks and caused a disease in the body of my baby.

I only must humbly submit my heart and life to Him daily...which I do. In all my weaknesses and in-ablilities...I submit to the only One who is able to sustain me, sustain my health and the health of my children.

Stay close to God and to the Truth of His Word, Lisa. It will cut through all the lies and misunderstandings and clothe you in strength and dignity as you walk this road of cancer.

I am DAILY lifting you up to the Sustainer. I am absolutely confident in His ability to do things above and beyond our what we could even ask or think.

Praying for you even as I type...
Sandy

Michelle said...

My Mamaw had breast cancer and is the closest thing to a saint that I will know here on Earth. You don't bring cancer on yourself. I know how easy it is to feel that it's your fault, but it's not. When I lost my baby I thought it was a punishment for my sins, but then someone said who would want to worship a God that would do that. Our hardships in life are to bring glory to God's name. God Bless.

Smelling Coffee said...

Hi Lisa~

I continue to pray for you and your family very often... and am so glad that you KNOW from the Lord what you shared in these last two posts.

I was very sick for 14 years, and many well meaning loved ones asked us to do many of the things you mentioned. We did, but knew that if the Lord healed me, it would be because of His glory, not because of something I did because someone else was healed that way.

I spent many seasons asking God to search my heart to reveal anything that caused the illness. He gave me the same answer every time... "This is for My Glory". And Jesus was sweeter to me during those years than I'd ever imagined He could or would be. My life of total dependance upon Him was a good one, and we felt the Lord's blessings upon us every single day!

God used us like He is using you right now - to proclaim His faithfulness and love - even during this unexpected path you and your family are walking upon.

For His Glory, and in His perfect timing, The Lord did heal me - 10 years ago this April 1st! And I pray that He will do the same for you... in His way and in His timing, all for His glory in and around your life... I ask Him in the Name of Jesus, to heal you too!!!

Here is the link to my healing story. I'll be rewriting it and reposting on April 1st for our 10th anniversary.

http://smellingcoffeetoday.blogspot.com/2008/08/leaping-cow-part-1.html

With love and continual prayers for you, Lisa, and thanking God for His Light that is beaming from you right now...

Jennifer Walker

Jan said...

Hi Lisa :) I believe that God's path for our lives are chosen before we even arrive here on Earth ... obviously, due to the "free will" he has given us, those path's can change somewhat along the way, especially when we choose not to follow Him. I do not believe in any way, shape or form that your cancer is due to anything you have done or is punishment for any decisions you've made along the way! There are many situations in life where we never have a clue what God's reasoning was behind them and I do believe that illness is the main one we simply cannot fathom why. Ya see, our Daughter battled Crohn's Disease for 23 long, courageous years; and she is now in Heaven. She did nothing to bring on the Disease ... absolutely nothing ... it was plain and simply God's will for her life; and I know He must have been so proud of her for handling it with such Grace. I wish you well my dear; but more than that, I wish you a continued walk with God. He brought you to this and I believe with all my heart that He will get you through it :) Hugs to you :)