How do you react in a severe storm or if you receive bad news? Do you tense up with fear or do you recall words such as those in Psalm 107:28-30? “Then they cry out to the Lord in their trouble, and He brings them out of their distresses. He calms the storm, so that its waves are still. Then they are glad because they are quiet; so He guides them to their desired haven.”
Personally, the year 2019 was filled with medical challenges. In addition to my 24-year issue with prostate cancer, physicians speculated that I may have bladder cancer as well. When I received this news, I did indeed tense up with fear and uttered the following to God. “Why this too? Isn’t one type of cancer enough?” I discovered that when one gets bad news, it usually takes 2-3 days before the initial shock subsides and I can then more calmly refocus on God’s presence.
Life’s storms can either stunt or accelerate our spiritual growth. The determining factor is our reaction. Some people humbly cry out to the Lord, while others get angry or frustrated with Him and their circumstances. Still, others ignore God and try to figure things out on their own, seeking solutions in every place except God’s Word.
Turning away from the Lord results in a hardened heart for someone who does not have a personal relationship with Him; for a believer, turning away results in spiritual discipline. God wants us to be surrendered to His will whatever the occurrence, because if we are proud, doubting Him or self-reliant, then we aren’t useful for His glory and purpose for our lives. That is why God brings storms across our path- to teach us to fully rely on Him.
When the Lord allows adversity in your life, do you accept it as something designed for your good? Or do you try to bend God to conform to your own will? As difficult as they may be, storms are meant to produce godly character in us. In my own case, why was the storm of potential bladder cancer to be used for my good? After a period of intense questionning of God and His care for me, I was specifically led to Jesus’ prayer to His Father just prior to His crucifixion as payment for all our sins. In Mark 14:36. Jesus intensely prays, “Abba Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will but what You will.” After some days of struggle, first I likewise fully acknowledged to God that He has the power to eliminate any traces of cancer from my body. I may not witness many dramatic cancer healings today but God indeed has the power to do so if He desires. All things are possible for Him. Second, as in Jesus’ prayer, I pleaded that He take any vestiges of bladder cancer away from my body. Thirdly, and most importantly, I affirmed that even if cancer were to be found, I would trust His care and His will in my life. After a CT scan and a thorough visual examination of my bladder by my urologist, no cancer was revealed. Instead, I had some fragile blood vessels induced as a side effect of previous radiation therapy. Under God’s direction and ministry to me, I had weathered this storm and learned a valuable lesson to pattern my personal prayer to that of Jesus Himself when the next storm arises.
If you are unsure of a personal relationship with God through faith in Jesus, then this post might seem foreign to you. Coming to know God and His Son Jesus in a personal and unique way is the place to start.
A portion of the above was an excerpt from the January 8th, 2020 In Touch Ministries devotional by Dr. Charles Stanley.