“Lord, I don’t want this for my life.”
These fearful and saddened thoughts had been consuming me over last week. I have been walking this cancer journey now for two months. The first few weeks were overwhelming, and I was in a pit of despair. However, the Lord is slowly revealing his truth and plans for me and I have found peace and even joy. But last week, Satan began to nag at me through my thought life; little, subtle, quiet fears and doubts making me question my future and doubt God’s faithfulness. Have you had similar doubts?
“What if my CA125 levels jump back up?” (They have dropped from almost 2700 to 144)
“You will die from this, Alissa. You will miss seeing your children grow up.”
“What if my lymph nodes swell up again? Will my chemo stop working?”
Ugh. So many sad and defeating thoughts.
I am in God’s word every morning and intentionally trying to acknowledge Him throughout my day. But….life is busy and I am easily distracted and pretty soon I am consumed with my own thoughts instead of taking every thought captive to Christ. And I end up with tears and defeat.
I begin to feel alone and my hope of healing fades.
I know you have defeating thoughts as well, different from mine, but still thoughts of doubt and fear. We worry and fret over tomorrow and live in regret for yesterday, which in turns ruins our joy and peace for TODAY! Psalm 118 tells us that “this is the day the Lord has made…he tells us to rejoice and be glad in it”. But how can we find that joy when our minds wander from yesterday to tomorrow. Satan’s schemes are to keep us in bondage to these, because if we get stuck somewhere else, we can’t focus on today. We are unable to find the peace Jesus promises to us every day. He is deceptive and sneaky….a liar and a cheat, trying and many days succeeding at keeping us in chains. But it was for freedom that Christ set us free!
Jesus teaches us about worry so often. In Matthew 6: 25 He tells us NOT to worry about our lives…that we are instead to seek first His kingdom and his righteousness. He is the same forever…yesterday, today and tomorrow! Why fear when God is for us!
So, what do we do when we are consumed with these negative thoughts? We open god’s word and we wrestle with him until we hear from him, until we finally build our trust once again and we seek after him with our whole hearts.
Nothing…I repeat, nothing is worth more than our relationship with Jesus! And he already knows our thoughts and weaknesses and our doubts. He is waiting for you to bring them to his feet, to sit with him and let Him fill us with his hope and peace. He is worthy of our praise and he deserves our attention and ultimately our surrender.
Surrender isn’t just a one time occurrence. I was talking with my 8 year old son yesterday and he said, “I thought surrendering my life to the Lord would feel more special. But I don’t feel different.” Well, he surrendered his life 1 1/2 years ago and has had ups and downs in his faith, as do we all. But I gently reminded him that his initial surrender to the Lord was not the end of his faith…it was just the beginning. Jesus is still there, waiting on him to return to him daily and to seek after him. That his faith in christ is a relationship that he needs to build…every single day through bible reading, prayer and being watchful for the Lord working in his life.
And this is what I am learning as well. The bible is true! God’s word is alive and active. Jesus is with me. God is sovereign. What else can I desire then this? To know God and make him known…this is Classical Conversations, our homeschool community’s mission statement. I love it! It reminds me that God can be known. And we are to seek him and share His good news with the world!
As I have been in His word, he is showing me who He is. He is real and he struggled as we all do. He was human and God all at the same time. We worship a God who had emotions just like us, who was tempted in every way, just as we are, who he needed strengthening and he needed encouragement. He chose his friends wisely and yet even he was abandoned and felt human disappointment. But he models for us humility, and graciousness and how he himself was refreshed. He spent time…so much time…in prayer! Especially by himself. He prostrated himself before the Lord. He depended on His Father at all times, especially as he was approaching the Cross. He suffered so much for us, and was willing to do so, yet in the garden, he still asked God to take it away from him. He was real.
As I read in Luke 22 verses 39-46, God showed me Jesus’ human side. That he knows and understands my emotions and he speaks life into me as I begin to understand more and more who he is and how my life rests in Christ. I am reminded of his disciples humanity as well through their own struggles as well and how much Jesus loved them and poured into them.
And I am realizing that my thoughts, my feelings, Satan’s lies, are not truth. They are not my reality. But I am learning….they are real. And it’s ok to be real. It’s ok to vulnerable, but it’s not ok to believe the lies in my mind. It’s not ok to get stuck in my emotions, it’s not ok to let my emotions lead my life. But unfortunately, they are a reality this side of heaven. Satan wants to make feel guilty for my sorrowful moments, for feeling sad and overwhelmed. He wants me to feel defeated in the tough moments of life. But Jesus has a different way.
Jesus’ struggle in the garden of Gethsemane speaks truth to us! Luke 25:45 says, “When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them (his disciples) asleep, exhausted from sorrow.”
Did you see that? I have never noticed that before. His disciples were exhausted from their own grief and sadness. They knew Jesus was struggling and needed to pray. They didn’t fully understand what was about to happen but they too, were sorrowful. And sorrow is exhausting. When you are filled with emotions…sadness, grief, etc, it is physically exhausting.
But then I reread the verses just before this.
These verses describe Jesus’ struggle in the garden before the Lord. in verse 42 Jesus asks God, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” Jesus knew the path before him, he knew it was going to be difficult. And even he asked God to make it different, as I have prayed so much these past few months. I don’t want this cancer journey for my life. Please God, I have pleaded, take it away. And yet, this is the cup he has for me. And I am learning to accept it and say, not my will but yours Lord. As much as I don’t want to have cancer, I do want God’s will in my life more.
But the next verses spoke most clearly to me. Verse 43 says “An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.” Even Jesus needed strength from outside himself. He needed God’s strengthening! I needed to hear this!! I cannot do this on my own! Nor did God intend for me to! I need the Lord’s strengthening. He doesn’t expect me to walk this journey alone. He is with me always! He is my source of strength and peace. He will never leave me or forsake me!
And verse 44 says this, ” And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” Jesus was in anguish, y’all! He was struggling! And what did he do? He prayed more seriously! He physically was experiencing what grief and despair brings to our physical bodies. And that is exactly what you and I need to do! When we feel despair, sadness or are struggling with worry and fear, we need to get on our knees , open the Word of God and surrender our thoughts to God, surrender our will to our heavenly father who loves us and knows us and is our source of strength!
The greek word for anguish is agonia, and I love what the Blue Letter Bible App says this means…
Agonia=a struggle for victory!
Jesus was struggling! Agonizing! But it wasn’t for defeat…. no! It was for victory! Victory is defined as overcoming an enemy!!!! He knew Satan was there trying to defeat his thoughts. And he was praying for victory in his anguish. Jesus didn’t struggle for naught. He struggled for our victory…his death on the cross is our victory! He conquered death and sadness and despair! And he models for us exactly what we need to do in our despair. We are to pray more earnestly and we are to struggle for victory! Our anguish is not a ticket for defeat, it is for our victory in Christ.
And I am beginning to see that in all of this, God is working out things together for my good and for my victory, but he is also using my real emotions, my weakness for your victory. 2 Corinthians says His power is made perfect in my weakness! Hallelujah ! My struggle is not for naught! My emotions are real and when laid at His cross, Jesus is using them to strengthen me so I can shine his life and light into those areas of darkness in your lives. He is using my weakness to strengthen you!!
So I am learning to be real.
Jesus was real and he wants us to be real, to show our emotions, but to take them to the Lord and let him redeem them and use them for our good and for the good of those around us. God’s ways are not our own.
How are you struggling right now? What emotions are gripping you and pulling you into defeat and fear and doubt?
Pour out your emotions to the Lord and let him strengthen you! Let your anguish be a struggle for victory! Surrender to God’s will, even if you don’t want what he has for you right now! The more we surrender, the more we dive into God’s word, the more we begin to align our lives with His plans and His will, the more we will find peace and joy in the midst of our pain. James tells us to “consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
Be real my friends and submit to Jesus and know that He is doing a work in you and through you to make you complete.
Hebrews 5:7 tells us “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered.”
Suffering is for our victory….our victory in Christ!
Do as Jesus did with his struggles…
- Pray earnestly
- Submit to God’s will
- Read God’s word for truth
- Trust in God’s plan for your life.
- Obey His commands
Please share any struggles you may be having so I can be praying with you.