Before cancer, I was afraid. And I often prayed God would just fix me, already. Why does Sanctification have to take so long and move so slowly? I’ve been a Christian all my life, with some periods where I lived out my faith better than others. But alway I was a sinner who failed to live as if I really believed God was faithful.
I easily got angry and frustrated with interruptions at work, I was afraid of getting hurt, I was afraid of losing my job, I was short with people who asked silly questions. I was a mess. But I wanted to be better. I listened to sermons, read the Bible, tried to have quiet times, and ask God to help me change. He did in many ways, but I didn’t change in so many other ways. I despaired of ever changing here in this lifetime.
I wondered how I would hold up if something big hit, since I couldn’t handle the day to day mundane things of life. I watched a friend battle breast cancer and saw her faith deepen. Would mine deepen or would I struggle through the whole thing? I didn’t want to struggle. I wanted to just believe and know He is faithful and trustworthy.
One term I found helpful was non-sufficiency. I knew that my struggle was that I was very self-sufficient. And many people describe needing God because we realize we are insufficient. But truly, we are worse off than that. We don’t just fail to bring what we need to the table, we bring deficits that handicap us. We are non-sufficient and need God to even breathe, must less overcome our sin to even start to be and do right.
But I was so self-sufficient, I would try to get through the day alone, without God. Even though I know it doesn’t work that way.
Then cancer. Terminal cancer. The only thing that may have been bigger for me would have been a bodily injury that handicapped me or Anthony. And maybe it would be harder if it were Anthony, not me. But this is big enough, thank you.
The amazing thing is there wasn’t a time when I sat down and said “God, you need to help me through this.” I was non-sufficient from the get go and never struggled against it. Life just flowed and I felt this peace and comfort every step of the way. People see me and talk about how inspiring I am or how strong I am. I always tell them it isn’t me, it’s the Holy Spirit within me. I can’t do anything on my own. And I truly believe that now. It’s actually much easier to live as I should these days.
I still sin. I still get angry with people, and I still get afraid of the unknown future and frustrated with the pain of the present at times. But it only takes a minute or two before I’m back in prayer and finding ways to praise and thank God for what I do have.
I was reminded recently that Corrie Ten Boom wrote about this in one of her books. Another blogger wrote:
Corrie evidently had extraordinarily faithful parents, and she wondered how she would measure up under life’s trials. One day she asked her father how he consistently remained unwavering in faith and pondered whether she would be capable of the same. Lovingly, he asked Corrie when he provided her with the necessary bus fare for her to travel to school/town. “Just before getting on the bus,” was Corrie’s response. Her father then comforted Corrie by assuring her that the same applies to our heavenly Father. At just the right moment in time, not a second before or a second too late, He provides us with exactly the proportion of strength and faith to endure any trial that we may face.