My heart was so full yesterday as we finished up our study of Esther with the ladies at church. God really gave us some sweet moments of focusing on how clearly we are able to see God in a book that never mentions His name and how the principles that we learned from that book are still so applicable today. I am struggling this morning to put into words all that I am feeling and want to share, so forgive me, if my writing is a bit random this morning.
Several weeks ago, I mentioned that our lesson was on fear and that it had caused me to do some deep soul searching, thinking, and praying. The bottom line of the lesson was learning to know that as we are contemplating life and as we wonder/worry about what the worst thing in the world is that can happen, we must come to the place where we say "If_________(insert the worst thing imaginable here), then God." If we fill in the second part of that in any other way, we can't possible make it. We can't live on conditional faith where we say that we trust God that He won't let something happen to us, because if that 'something' happens, then we feel betrayed by God. We have to trust God no matter what! I was very emotional during this lesson because it came not long after I had discovered some changes around my scar and the doubts and fears of recurrence were certainly in the forefront of my mind. But, although I have those fears, I have always believed that what Beth was teaching was how I believed. I know that cancer is a reality in my life and recurrence may happen, and while it is not what I desire at all, I also know that if it does happen, then God is still good, He is still faithful, He is still the Healer. None of that changes because of my health. I hope that I have always communicated that on this blog. So much of this has been simply my thoughts, my fears, our life just lived out on the internet, but I so hope and pray that through those fears, you have been able to see that my trust truly is in our Father and that whether my cancer returns or stays gone forever, I want to use my life to honor and glorify God. This is a quote that I wrote down that she said that really has stuck with me, "If He calls us to a difficult death, then somehow that courageous death must somehow be part of our destiny...and we have to remember that that destiny goes way beyond the casket, all the way to heaven." As someone who has recently seen someone go through a difficult death and as someone who knows that a difficult death may be in her future, what a wonderful perspective to remember, death isn't the final moment for us, our ultimate destiny is to bow before our God and worship forever. Another quote from my notes..."courage is not the absence of fear, but the judgement that there is something more important at stake." That something "more important" is that God is there, He is faithful and that NEVER changes!
The principle of God's providence is so clear in Esther and I was reminded over and over of how God is present in the details of our lives. He knows the difficulties that we face, He sees our pain and despair, and He is continually working, continually present in every detail of our lives and the pivotal point where our life turns around can come at the moment when life seems the bleakest.
I have been thinking often lately of what I would be doing if I were in France. As I read updates from our teammates and hear of contacts and friendships that they are making, I have found myself with tears in my eyes more than once this week as I look at how different my life is and how much I wanted that life to be mine. But, yesterday at our Bible study, as we were talking about God's providence and I was marveling at how He accomplished His purposes, I was reminded that perhaps the destiny that I desired for my life--the destiny that I thought God desired for my life--was just a stepping stone, just a part of the journey to my ultimate destiny of worshipping God in heaven. And as much as I didn't desire that Oklahoma be part of my destiny, perhaps God in His sovereignty, in His providence has placed me here "for such a time as this."
I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to study this book. If any of you have the opportunity, I highly recommend it. It is such a joy to study the Word with other women and to learn the details and intricacies of Scripture. I promise, you will never be sorry!