Friday, September 23, 2016

Learning from our Heroes

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah.  Psalm 46:1-3

This coming Sunday is Cancer Awareness Sunday at North Side Baptist Church.  Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Texas; first among persons aged 75 years and younger.  Almost 100,000 Texans will be diagnosed with cancer this year and over 35,000 deaths will occur due to cancer. As a compassionate and caring church, North Side has stepped into the lives of many to share their struggles and celebrate their victories. Prayers have been offered and arms have been extended in love upon the news that someone has cancer.  We have grieved with those whose battles are now over and testified of the grace and the provision of God.
What can we learn from the journeys and battles of those who have traveled this road?
1. Crisis Creates Confusion
The emotional impact of cancer diagnosis, symptoms, treatment, and related issues can be severe. Shock, fear, uncertainty, and general numbness are immediate reactions.  As in any crisis moment, the diagnosis of cancer creates a time of confusion. 
2. Caution Causes Carefulness
Running when we are confused and lost is not only futile, it is dangerous.  So it is when we are in any crisis.  The first thing we must do is stop and get our bearings; understanding where we are and then assessing where we are going from here is mandatory.  Those who have walked the path ahead with a diagnosis of cancer will tell us to be cautious about what we think and do at this time.  Don’t get ahead of God!
3. Commitment Calls for Courage
The cancer survivor who has faced the pain and true agony of treatment knows what courage is when they show up for the second, third, fourth, or subsequent treatment knowing the cost.  Courage is not without fear.  Courage on our part is boldness in the face of fear.  May all who fight be imbued with courage wrought through FAITH IN GOD.  God has not called us to test our strength, but His.  Our cancer survivors remind us regularly to never question the power of our God to deliver!
4. Conquering May Not Mean Cure 
Cancer survivors live with a reality that the cells in their body might react against them once more.  The word “cure” is seldom heard in the life of one who has experienced cancer.  While they may live in remission from the disease, the very fact they have had cancer greatly increases the chances for its return.  Vulnerability is a feeling of weakness in the face of a threat.  Such a feeling is a part of the cancer survivor.  
5. Compassionate Caregivers Share the Burden 
For a cancer patient or someone suffering from some other form of illness it is the caregiver.  Love is the force behind the care.  Sometimes when a loved one needs our help, there are those who push the pause button on their own lives.  The other person’s needs become more important than theirs for a little while.  It is that kind of love which compels us into action through compassion.
6. Christ is our Source for Comfort, Healing, Strength and Hope 
Of all the lessons we can learn from the cancer survivor, this is the one we need the most.  Where do you find hope when all seems so dark?  The testimony from so many who have walked this very path is that their hope is in a person...Jesus Christ!  Hope is the interpretive lens that brings determination in the midst of despair, courage in the midst of crisis, and power in the midst of peril.  Real hope has a REASON to believe.  Real hope is not THAT you believe or WHAT you believe; it is in WHOM you believe.
In the midst of your life battle, learn today from those who are our heroes of faith!  There is no need for despair when Jesus is there!  From the beginning of the crisis to the final victory, Jesus is taking care of you! 
Scripture to Claim
I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the LORD.  Psalms 27:13-14

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