Posts Tagged ‘faithfulness’

Changing Perspective on Hard Times

He drew me up from a pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. Psalm 40:2

 

In this life, I will not know “why” things happened as they did or how God was glorified in details I never saw. That knowledge may never be given to me, but I am gaining perspective.

Several years ago a sister and a friend passed away from pancreatic cancer within four months of each other. Both were Christians.

My sister was diagnosed after testing was ordered for some symptoms that seemed minor, though it was obvious she was pretty sick. Stage two pancreatic cancer. The accepted protocol was surgery and then chemotherapy. There were several rounds of chemo and lots of problems created by it. She lived about eighteen months from her diagnosis. Some times were much more difficult than others.

My friend was diagnosed because she was out walking her dog and had great pain in her leg. Seeking treatment, she learned she had a blood clot, sometimes, a symptom of pancreatic cancer. It was stage four, moving rapidly through other organs. Two and a half months later, she went to be with the Lord.

For the four+ years since their deaths, I have been sure that if this were to happen to me, I would rather have my friend’s death than my sister’s death. Those treatments caused serious (and painful) side effects.

But this week our Pastor mentioned “proclaiming Christ” and I immediately thought about how my sister did that throughout her illness. She had an understanding of the sovereignty of God and chose to “thank Him and praise Him” through those grueling treatments. It lifted her spirits and was a clear proclamation of the Name of Christ and His goodness to many medical personnel and other folks along the way.

My friend did not have the same opportunity. She spent a couple of weeks seeking the right treatment. There was none. Medically, there was nothing to be done for her. Within a couple more weeks, she was house-bound and then bed-bound. Her sphere of influence in that time was very small.

Both of these women went through medical issues we would not wish on our worst enemies. Both relied on their God and increased in faith through these times.

But, I have had only a physical view of their deaths. I only saw the suffering and anguish at having to die so soon (both were 58). This week I thought about how much more my sister praised Christ and proclaimed His Name though her illness than she had prior to the illness. She was faithful and He was merciful.

The community she lived in took the opportunity for all those months to serve her, to love her, and to listen to her tell them about Christ and what he was doing as she went through all this.

My perspective has clearly changed from the pain my sister lived through to the praise that Christ received because of it. Truly, He increased as she decreased (John 3:30).

Hard times are opportunities to praise God and magnify Him with thanksgiving (Psalm 69:29-31). I see now that I have wasted some perfectly good opportunities to praise God and thank Him when things were tough.

God changes the world one heart at a time. No place is off-limits to enter and proclaim Christ.

We may not be thankful  for the circumstances (though James says we should be thankful in them) that get us close to those who need to hear, but will we be faithful to proclaim the Name of Christ, wherever He places us?

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