Wednesday, September 30, 2009
The Darkest-Side of Life
Blogger: Sarah Gilbertson
One of my biggest fears is cancer. I feel like the world is getting cancer, if you hear someone in your distant family died you can almost bet it's going to be cancer. Sometimes I feel insane like it's only a matter of time until I get it....sometimes it really feels like EVERYONE is GETTING IT! For a really dark couple of weeks in my life....okay...actually couple of years...I was continually worried about getting cancer or some other disease like it, I would worry that my parents were going to get it too. I was worried everyone in my family was going to get it. It really controlled me. I let my fear control me.
Then I got married....and it only got worse. Worrying about my husband getting sick took a lot of time out of my days, worrying that I was going to get sick and die and leave him alone and thinking of how sad he would be made me so scared. And that fear got in the way of our marriage at times, sometimes I would just end up sounding like a paranoid idiot because everything I said started with "Well...I'm afraid that..." I can't imagine living with someone who is continually afraid, but my husband did. He was VERY patient but there came a time when we had to talk about it. And I came to the realization just how much time I wasted by worrying about things all the time. I was robbing me and my husband and my family of valuable time, time that God had given us! I think I justified it in my head sometimes by thinking: "If I am always paranoid about it and talking about it then maybe I won't get it!" You know those weird thoughts we have to ourselves, where we think if we think something in a certain way like: "I'm NEVER getting married!" over and over so that then the opposite will happen somehow is SO ridiculous! We don't have that much power! God's going to decide whether something happens or not no matter how or what we think. That's not to say that thinking in a way that is pleasing to God is not important (though thinking thoughts like that are probably not very pleasing to God), but it's a reminder that we can't control what happens to us just by thinking the right thoughts. We are in a way trying to take that power away from God, we might not be realizing we are doing it, or doing it on purpose but that's what it is.
My husband, Andrew, would try to comfort me when I got down and depressed about my 'inevitability' of getting cancer, he would say: "God knows what's going to happen! Worrying isn't going to change anything! You just have to let go and know that God is going to control it all and He wouldn't let anything happen that wasn't for a reason." To which I would glumly reply: "Yeah...well maybe His reason is that I get cancer and leave you alone forever. Sounds like a good reason to me." or I would say "But that doesn't help! It means I could STILL get cancer, that could still be what happens, even though God is in control of everything" and Andrew would say "But if that's what God allowed to happen, don't you think there would be a reason? Don't you think His ways are higher than our ways?" To which I would never reply because I knew it would be stupid to try and argue with that point even though I wanted to. I knew Andrew was right, deep down I knew he was right...but I couldn't convince myself of it. So I kept on dealing with this dark side of me, the side that was always worried I wouldn't live to have kids, or live to have a house of our own someday, or just live to be old with Andrew; happy and satisfied that we'd 'made it', that we'd gotten to grow old together and 'who cares what happens next? we're 98!!!" I tried half-heartedly praying that God will help me defeat this side of me, that He would give me some assurance. But I think even when I was praying that I still was secretly praying: "Give me some assurance that I WON'T get cancer, that Andrew won't either, that we WILL grow old together!". It's weird how we pray so earnestly to God sometimes, and then sometimes we REALLY think we can hide the real reason we are praying. Like somehow if we say the right words but slip in a different meaning God will be tricked into giving us the REAL thing we want, the thing we are too afraid to ask for out loud, or the thing we are SURE He will say no to. Kind of like when we were kids and we would try to slip things past our parents by asking for permission to do something in a roundabout, bare-bones of information kind of way.
I think that we really should come to God with the REAL desires of our hearts, that He wouldn't be angry with me for praying: "Give me assurance that Andrew and I will be happy and healthy and together for forever!!" but I don't think He will necessarily give that to me, He might have some bigger plan. Yeah that scares me...but it's how it is. But that doesn't mean I can't still pray about that desire I have...it just means that I need to open my heart to Him and say that I will accept His will for me even if it's something really terrible...even if it's something sad...even if it's the BEST THING that ever happened in my life! I need to bow to HIS will, and know that HE'S the one who knows best...even if it feels like awful to me. Now that's a hard thing. Because that means accepting His will even if that means one day I will get cancer. Bleah. I just didn't know how I was going to get to that point. And then one day I was reading in the Bible Pslam 139:16 "All the days ordained for me were written in your book before any one of them came to be."
And it hit me...that THIS was what God and Andrew were trying to tell me all along...it DOESN'T matter how much I worry or how careful I try to be...God knows already how many days He's given to me. Sometimes you have to read it and feel it for yourself for it to be true, that's how I know that some people reading this might feel like "That doesn't comfort me!", if you are dealing with these same kind of fears and this blog isn't helping then you need to go on your own journey, seeking God's comfort through the Bible and prayer in your own way and GODSPEED!...but for those who it IS helping...keep reading!:) It made me realize how futile and silly and DUMB it was for me to be overly worried about my life or Andrew's life or anyone in my families life. (Now for those who might say "So if we DO get sick or have serious health problems we are just supposed to ignore it?" NO! Don't ignore it, seek help for it, find out what it is but DON'T worry so much about it that it takes over your entire life!) Because God already knows. If God, who is all-powerful, amazing, loving, supernatural, and awesome, already knows how long I am going to live....how the heck could I change that by worrying about it? It's already taken care of, God knows when He's going to pick me up and take me to heaven, He already knows when He's coming to pick up Andrew, when He's coming to pick up Joe, and Mom, and Dad and Tim and ALL the rest of my wonderful family, immediate and extended. What can I, an immortal soul in a mortal body whose only power and strength and goodness comes from God, do to change that? Why would I even try? Doesn't God know when it's best and HOW it's best?
I am sorry for the families who go through cancer. It really tests you and tears at you, and makes you question God, I am sure. And I don't know what it's really like...because PRAISE GOD, so far none in my family have gotten it, but I know it must be SO so hard. I think the hardest thing is that you think; "God doesn't HAVE to let this happen! He doesn't WANT us to suffer, does He?". But then I realized...God doesn't WANT us to suffer, He loves us so much I am sure that He WANTS to keep us from EVERY kind of suffering there is, He's our father! Why would He want us to suffer? But He also knows what is best for us. And maybe...the really difficult thing we are going through is happening because HE knows...something good is going to come of this. This is how things need to happen...for a reason. And the sucky part is...we might not know that reason until we die and go to heaven...but we need to believe that God would never let anything happen just to let it happen. That would not make sense and it wouldn't be the God we love, a God who just goes; "Ooh...I think I am going to let this girl get shot today, just so I can see what happens!!" He already KNOWS what happens, He doesn't need to perform experiments or tricks or bad things just to satisfy some sadistic need! There is a reason. I think people lose that belief sometimes because they can't SEE the reason, they can't find it, and they think there isn't one and that there never will be one. But sometimes the reason may be SO far above our understanding that God can't show it to us until we are with Him in heaven where we WILL understand. "OH!!! So THAT'S why I crashed my brand-new car, God! Wow. That's cool...and weird." I think if we knew some of the reasons now they would only confuse us....or we just wouldn't understand them.
Another thing is...consequences and bad things are JUST a part of this fallen world, sadly it's just how things are. "Innocent" people pay for 'bad people's mistakes or actions, and I HATE that, and I know God hates it too. But, praise God, even though those bad things happen....God can ALWAYS and will ALWAYS use it for a reason, for a GOOD and GODLY reason....just once again...unfortunately...we will NOT always be able to see what the reason is. And if we don't trust that He does know what's best, and that He does have a reason even if we can't see it, it's going to drive so much distance between us and Him because we will start having the attitude of Him being a cruel, cold, and horrible God, that He just lets things happen to let them happen. I am not saying this is easy in ANY way, shape or form, and I am also not saying that I am going to be able to think this way all the time, that I am going to be able to rest assured that God knows best even if I can't understand it. But I know I am going to keep coming back to that belief because if I really love God, then I will know that's how He is. He loves us, He wants to be near us...but Fear separates us from Him. When I give into fear I put myself into a little dark room where everything is out to get me and I'm alone. "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear..." 1 John 4:18 God IS perfect love, He DOES drive out fear....so get into GOD and let God get into you! Don't let it be fear that gets into you, and don't get into fear! If you are getting into fear keep crying out to God to save you! "He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes who were too strong for me." Psalm 18:16-17 "He brought me out into a spacious place, because He delighted in me" Psalm 18:19. He loves you, let Him save you. You might have to keep asking Him to save you from fear every second, hour, day, year because we are weak and we fall back into doing the wrong thing so easily...but He loves you, He will save you!
"If I say "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," even the darkness will not be dark to You; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to You." Psalm 139:11-12
I am still going to pray that I won't get cancer...and I am still going to HOPE that's His will...but I am not going to ruin the joyful days that He has given to me by worrying about everything, because I know He has a plan; that even if sucky things happen, there is a reason.
"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirt of power, of love, and of self-discipline" 2 Timothy 1:7
(The Greek definition for the word timidity is fear)
God didn't give you fear, so don't use it.
And if the only thing you can hold onto is that God loves you and He died on the cross for your sins so you could go to heaven to be with Him when you die....that's more than enough.