Nothing is a surprise to God;
nothing is a setback to His plans;
nothing can thwart His purposes;
and nothing is beyond His control.
Joni Eareckson Tada
Have you ever received news that completely rocked your world? One minute you are living your life, making your plans and the next you are planning for something entirely NOT planned or desired.
What comes to mind for me was the day I was told I had breast cancer. I had gone in for my annual mammogram and was told there was something that looked like a “starry night’s sky” on the scan. I would need to schedule a biopsy…sooner than later. Ok, I thought, this sounds a bit serious. Though really my life is crazy busy right now with 3 kids and a husband that travels, but… I will for sure fit it in.
About a week after the biopsy, I called to get the results. There apparently had been a bit of confusion contacting me and could I come into the office. Thinking it was a routine followup, I went by myself into the office at the Breast Cancer Clinic (should have been a clue, right!). The doctor walked in with a huge binder that said something like “Now that you have Breast Cancer…” and proceeded to talk to me about options and further testing.
I’ll never forget sitting there thinking “what in the world is she talking about? I don’t have cancer. She must have me confused with someone else?” So... I stopped her and said “Do I have breast cancer?” She said "YES". Woooooo. I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING!
It’s amazing how quickly your life, your journey can change . “Turn on a dime” as the saying goes. One minute I am organizing travel soccer tournaments, facilitating Bible studies, serving on the school board… and the next minute I am living at Mayo, talking to numerous doctors about treatments and operations, and experiencing every biopsy known to man.
I think I was in shock for quite awhile. Maybe even until after the mastectomy. There wasn’t time to wonder why, to be upset, to grieve - that all came later.
I did immediately turn to God for strength. He is my source of power and I had learned from LIFE that I am never alone - EVER. He is always with me. I posted verses all around my house. I journaled. I prayed. I read. I researched. I wasn’t worried about death or the future. I just tried to live in the moment. One day at a time.
When the dust settled, I began having some heart to hearts with God. I wondered what the outcome would be. I searched for answers.
I experienced fear and then battled it back with faith...over and over...
I never questioned WHY me, because honestly - WHY not me? Life happens to all of us. The question is not WHY but HOW. How do we chose to move forward.
The days allotted to me had all been recorded in your book,
before any one of them ever began.
Reading this verse was my AHA MOMENT.
Since then it has continued to be my go to verse whenever “I didn’t see that coming” - comes.
What it said then and still says to me today is that God is NEVER surprised, never caught off guard, never troubled.
I may be surprised, shocked, confused, unclear, unprepared….
____________________ you fill in the blank with your word(s).
BUT God on the other hand is not. He knew that in October 2013, I would go to the doctor and be told that I had cancer. Though how I chose to react to and use this trial was all on me. That gave me unexplainable PEACE.
God KNOWS now too.
I believe that God will not give me anything I can not handle. I believe that He will use ALL things for good- to bring Him glory. But... and this is so important... I have the freedom to respond HOW I choose to react. Will I choose trust over skepticism? Will I choose belief over despair? Will I choose faith over fear?
We are currently all experiencing a time of surprise, of shock. A few months ago, no one dreamed that a pandemic would STOP our lives. But it has, and now the questions are:
Will you TRUST? or reject?
Will you BELIEVE? or despair?
Will you choose FAITH? or fear?
We will all be forever changed by this universal experience. We are not alone. As the saying goes “ We are all in this together”. I believe that we are all in this together with GOD.That is my faith. That is what gives me peace in the midst of so much uncertainty and fear.
God is not surprised. He is never surprised. So hang in there - trust, believe, have faith. God’s got this... and He is holding you tight with His right hand!
I know the plans that I have for you,
declares the LORD.
They are plans for peace and not disaster,
plans to give you a future filled with hope.