Are You Facing a Tsunami?
When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. - (NIV) Isaiah 43:2
A diagnosis of cancer often acts as a major earthquake in a person's life, causing a host of emotions -- most notably fear -- to rise up and come crashing in, much like the tsunami did on Southeast Asia in December 2004. Even more than the original causal agent, fear can disrupt and destroy life as we know it, sweeping away our underpinnings and carrying us far out to sea, away from all that is safe and secure.
I know it did for me. I'd been widowed for three years, had four young daughters to raise, a farm to manage, and a classroom of high schoolers to teach. But there it was, a lump three quarters the size of my breast, malignant, and needing surgery.
There was no history of cancer in my family. I'd swam competitively for 13 years of my life and taken good care of myself physically all my life. How could this be happening? Regardless of the how, it was happening.
And fear was there, flooding over me with wave after wave of daunting "what ifs," seeking to rob me of hope, light, life and the energy to fight back. But God was there too, reminding me that He was greater than my enemies, greater than any emotion, any circumstance, any power that would come against me to destroy me. He reminded me of this Scripture in Isaiah, a verse I'd clung to since my husband's accident, a truth I'd been experiencing in my daily life as He walked with the girls and me.
God never promises that we'll avoid difficulty, hardship or suffering. In fact, an examination of people's lives throughout the Bible shows that troubles and trials are part of life due to the fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden and the entrance of sin into the world. But, He does promise, as in Isaiah 43:2, to be with us as we endure difficulty. And no matter how bad it gets, He promises that because of His presence with us, the difficulty won't consume or destroy us. No matter what it does to our body ... no matter what it does to our finances ... no matter what it does to anything that's been entrusted to our care here on earth, it will not destroy who He created us to be, who we truly are in our souls.
God, the Lover of Our Souls, the One who describes Himself as our Rock, our Sure Foundation, our Refuge, our Glory and the Lifter of our Heads, doesn't abandon us to the circumstances and the emotional tsunamis that threaten to overflow us, steal our lives and drown us in hopelessness or consume us in despair. He's there for us to hold onto so, no matter what waves crash over us, no matter what furnace we’re tried by. Just as He stood in the capsizing boat with His frightened disciples one night and told the wind and the waves to be still, so He's continually at work in our lives when we place our trust in Him. Fears subside. Emotions calm down. Regardless of what we face, we won't be washed out to sea or devoured by the fire and forever lost.