Struggling with Faith & the Unknown will of God

After our ordeal with Thomas’ collapsed lung over Christmas the thought still lingers in the back of our minds, “Will it happen again?”. It could, it might or it might not. Only God knows. But we have some friends who have over the last year faced a much more serious situation as their young daughter has battled cancer. Their blog has been a great encouragement to me over the past months. It has strengthen my faith and made me realize even more just how big a God we serve and that no matter what happens, our God is always big, always right, and always in control. From their last post:

Hi all. We spent the morning with Ashley’s doctor for him to check her over and review the scans with us. Everything looks really good – he even mentioned that he’s having a hard time identifying a residual mass. All good news!

He then spent some time talking us through next steps. Ashley will have quarterly scans thru this year, every four months next year, semi-annually after that, and so on until we get past five years. Technically we don’t even have to go back to him until next quarter, but Elaine needed some peace of mind between now and then so we’ll have a check-up in 6 weeks.

More immediately, she’ll have her port removed in an outpatient surgery next Tuesday. Ashley’s take on that is, “Can I go back to gymnastics?!?!” Yes sweet baby, you sure can!

So what does all of this mean? Is it gone? Will it come back? Would be great to have solid, definite answers on those, but its just not to be. She looks really good. We’re thankful for that and continue to monitor her. She’s in God’s hands and we entrust her to him.

In typical man fashion, I wasn’t going to get into emotions but Elaine’s holding a gun to my head and forcing me. So here goes: We feel great that things are clear. We take faith that she’s in God’s hands and are encouraged by clear scans, how well she’s responded to treatment, and high cure rates. We love her, are excited about how things look, and so appreciate all of your love and support thru this. At the same time, we are dealing with those nagging fears in the recesses of our minds – what if it comes back? We wish we could know she’s cured and that there won’t be any effects from the chemo and radiation. We’ll keep walking in faith and hurdle any obstacles if and when they arise.

And I’d like to share a lesson (under strong recommendation from my lovely wife) that God provided for me really early on in this battle. After Ashley was diagnosed we annointed her with oil, laid hands on her and prayed over her as the Bible instructs us. I struggled with having complete faith in her healing; wondering whether I should just be able to completely believe that God would completely heal her. If my faith were strong, shouldn’t I be able to believe that?

I was encouraged by the three Hebrew boys facing the fiery furnace. See, they refused to bow down before the king’s idol even in the face of the gruesome punishment of being burned alive. When the king asked them who could deliver them from the fire, they replied that they served the God who could deliver them from the flames. However, EVEN IF HE DIDN’T they still refused to bow.

Interesting they didn’t say they knew they would be delivered isn’t it? I believe that the outcome was beside the point. Their great faith – despite the outcome – was the point. And boy was that drilled into my heart. I don’t believe faith is about trusting in outcomes. It’s about being faithful within the trail, through the pain, despite the outcome.

In our world with Ashley’s cancer, we know we serve the God who can deliver us from the fire. But even if he doesn’t, we won’t succumb to anything less that serving him and living our faith. And we know that his desire is only the best for us – despite the circumstance or outcome.

And here’s the best part of the story of those Hebrew boys: The king threw those boys into the furnace and saw a fourth person in the flames that delivered them from the fire – WITHIN THE FIRE. The king’s words about that fourth person were that he was “like a son of the gods.”

Like those Hebrew boys, we have the Son of God in Jesus to deliver us WITHIN the fire. No matter the circumstance or outcome, we have the Son of God to deliver us WITHIN the fire.

I do hope that blesses you as much as it has blessed me.

We’ll update after her surgery to remove her port next Tuesday.

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