There are few words in the English language that change a person quite like the word cancer. For those of us who have heard that word spoken in relation to ourselves and our condition, the moment it was uttered is branded in our memories.
Mortality rushes in like a flood with fear riding the crest of the wave. For a split second every muscle in your body tightens and the resulting nausea feels like you just stepped off of a roller coaster after having a seven course meal. This is quickly followed by disbelief at what you are hearing. Once that subsides an odd feeling of “Well, now that’s interesting!” creeps in along with a sense of helpless inevitability.
At least that is what my heart, mind and spirit experienced when I sat down in my doctor’s office several years ago to hear the words, “Now look what you have done Tony, you have gone and gotten yourself cancer!”
I remained suspended for a time after the doctor's visit within a confused cloud of self-pity, anger, fear and disbelief. I wondered what I had to done to deserve this. What great sin had I committed that brought on this calamity? I was a mess for a time; but all good things must come to an end, and eventually I was able to think rationally again and consider my plight through reasoned eyes.
My reason told me that it was simply the luck of the draw. After all the body is a mechanism, beautifully made, but destined to die in the long run. This cancer of mine was simply the first shot over the bow of my life. It got my attention.
I remember finally getting to the point where praying seemed like a good idea, and every night I prayed for the same thing: an explanation. To this day I have yet to receive one, but explanation or not, I did receive a message: a message that to me was just as direct and clear as if Christ were sitting across the kitchen table from me. The simple message was “Trust Me.”
A simple request to be sure, but honoring such a request when you are preparing to go under the knife knowing that to awaken means a drastically changed life and life style is difficult to be sure. I determined to do my best, though.
I will freely admit that after the surgery, the recovery and side effects made trusting Christ more difficult than I could have imagined; but I soldiered on and trust I did. He pulled me through. Thanks be to God!
I don’t intend to belabor the point of trust too much in this writing. Suffice it to say that trusting in Christ is not always easy. Laying your burdens down at His feet, while sounding good in theory, is difficult in practice; but for those of us who call ourselves Christians, such trust is essential.
Difficult times are part of life. You cannot escape them. They will be here just as sure as the sun will rise in the morning and avoiding them is simply not an option most of the time. So if avoiding difficult circumstances is not feasible, we had best turn to the God of circumstance and trust that He knows better than we which way to turn and which way to go.
As we enter into a new year with all of its unknowns, remember that the God of circumstances has promised to never to leave you orphaned. He will be there every step of the way.
On the other hand He has never promised to keep you from the challenges of life. It seems that often He allows a hurdle to cross your path with the aim of seeing just how well you will vault over it. For it is in the vaulting that the faith is strengthened and the resolve tempered.
That being said, Oswald Chambers once wrote that God “never has museums,” but rather His life is manifested in the lives of his children. In other words, talk is cheap. It is in the day to day challenges that your faith is strengthened and displayed. It is in the ordinary stuff of life where our ability to trust in Christ is best demonstrated to those around us and where the greatest advancements of the Kingdom take place.
The big challenges are made easier if in the small ones we first rely.
So as this new year dawns, let us all resolve to trust in Christ in all things, the great and small alike. Let us resolve to live out our Christianity in all aspects of life so that Christ’s Kingdom is seen by all and His love and peace are not only spoken of, but lived and shared.
  Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest (Uhrichsville, OH. Barbour and Company Inc., 1935), 98.