In late 1999 I started journaling on a regular basis. Journaling has become, for me, a way to process ideas, reflect more thoughtfully on events, and keep a record of what’s been happening and how I respond to it. It helps give me context and perspective and, on occasion, I go back and read what I was thinking at some point in the past.
I was journaling over the weekend and went back to look at my first entries of this year–the BC days: before cancer. I did not know at the beginning of 2014 that my wife would be diagnosed with breast cancer. I did not know how it would turn our world topsy. I did not know how we would drink at the fire hose of medical information and embark on a year long journey of surgeries, chemotherapy and, soon, radiation. On January 1, 2014 all that was in the future. But I did have a sense on January 1 that things would happen in 2014 that I could not foresee.
Here’s part of my first entry of the year :
Welcome to 2014! As I begin this year, full of hopes and plans, I am reminded of the New Testament verse, James 4:15 “…we ought to say ‘If the Lord wills we shall live and also do this or that.'”
Lord, be sovereign over my 2014 ‘This or that”. Remind me that I am vapor. You are God. Do not allow me to be presumptuous, for I do not know what a day will bring forth. (Proverbs 27:1)
I really did not know on January 1, 2014 what my day or my year would bring forth. God has reminded me this year I am but a vapor. My wife and I are learning to, as Holocaust survivor Corrie Ten Boom once said “Hold everything in your hands lightly.”
Like Diane and me, you do not know what a day–or a year– will bring forth either. A dear friend wrote to me last night that her husband is in the last stages of his life. A young couple at our church lost their young son in a car accident a few weeks ago. Tragedy strikes without putting up warning signs. But our lives are also full of unexpected blessing. On January 1, 2014 Diane and I could not have known the great out pouring of prayer, encouragement, and support we would receive. We could not have imagined the many delicious meals people would graciously bring to our home. We could not have discerned how the grace of God would sustain us during one of our greatest challenges.
God is sovereign even amidst the tangled events that weigh down on us and the unexpected delights that buoy us. It is not that cancer–or whatever great adversity you are facing– is God’s will. But all these things–the adversity and the blessings—occur under the umbrella of God’s will. Romans 8:28 reminds me God is working all things–even adversity–together for my good.
That’s good news to a guy who is vapor.