Psalm 9:9 - The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, A refuge in times of trouble.
I awoke at 2:30 Sunday morning. Thoughts were racing through my head, as usual.
I’ve mentioned I know two women in the early stages of cancer treatment, but not the early stages of cancer. I was thankful to be able to spend the afternoon with one Saturday as she, another friend and I had lunch together and then went to the local art museum to see a special exhibit by the great impressionists of our time.
She explained all she has been going through and the more she talked, the more I could see an uneasiness. This has been difficult. Her world is nothing but day after day of treatment. She called it “going to work.” She’s been quite the vocalist at the hospital and has even given them things to think on and improve as far as outpatients go. This is her way and I’m glad she has not lost this.
My mind wandered some more. If we don’t have a clear understanding how illness and disease approach us we will always wonder about it. I’ve done it myself. Why does this cancer thing seem to be so in the forefront right now? We can come up with natural ideas on the subject like the way things are today in this society...pollution, pesticides, microwave ovens, whatever it is one wants to blame it on. But it really boils down to the enemy of our soul...the devil himself.
His job is to steal, kill and destroy. And that can start with an illness that instills fear, doubt, depression...all the things that destroy. He steals our lives, our joy. It’s all part of his master plan.
Do you notice something...all the things our enemy does is the exact opposite of what Jesus has as His Master’s plan? Jesus wants us to have life and to have it more abundantly. He does not steal, kill or destroy. It’s all about eternal life. And the devil wants no part of any of us having this. All he wants is to gather people into eternal death, because that’s what lies ahead for him some day.
God does not cause illness. It comes with the sin territory we live in and our enemy takes advantage of that to bring us down. We do have choices...sometimes we make the wrong choice and bad things happen. Sometimes we don’t...they just happen. And when the discouragement comes, our joy, our comfort, our peace is stolen and sometimes destroyed.
With Jesus, though, that joy, comfort and peace can be brought back. I’ve only seen one person since I’ve known the Lord turn down prayer. Non-believers and believers alike know somehow there is something about prayer, even if it’s been a long time since they themselves have prayed. I think instinctively we turn to God for help in our weakest moments. It may not be a conscious thought of Him; it may be no more than a distant thought of God, somewhere out there. But any thought can be His way of pointing us back to Him. Whether a person continues to seek Him and seek Him with all their heart or not is up to them.
Let me just add here that some may be thinking about a higher power. There is only one such higher power and that's God. A higher power is just another one of the devil's lies. There is only One God who is able to heal spiritually unto eternal life. He's the one I choose to believe in. He's my refuge.
Jesus took all the sin of the world on His back. Imagine the intensity of that if you can. I can’t! There’s a song we sometimes sing that says, I’ll never know just how much it cost, to see my sin upon that cross. We cannot fathom it. But He took that sin, that pain, grief, discouragement and so much more so that we might be strengthened in and through Him when we receive Him into our lives and look at Him as that Savior, that personal God, who never slumbers, never sleeps, but watches over us each night, sings over us and rejoices over us. What love we can’t imagine, especially in our sinful states.
If we allow the discouragement of illness or disease overtake us, we fall into the very willing hands of the devil himself. The same goes for fear. It’s all a mental game he plays with us. And people, he’s winning. Drugs and alcohol; prostitution; crime; abortion. And more. All seeds planted by the one who wants to steer as many people as possible from the good life in Christ. Oh, but I don’t use drugs, I only drink socially, I don’t know or I am not a prostitute, these are all things “those others” do. Excess of anything is an addiction.
The Spirit of God can live in each of us if we so choose. Choose. Choose. It’s our choice. I cannot make it for anyone. I can pray that the light of Christ would enter in and have that proverbial foot in the door of someone’s life. That foot in the door is good; it leads to better things and greater understanding.
Jesus conquers all things: Joy over sadness; strength over discouragement; faith over fear, worship over worry. The enemy destroys all things. The choice is ours to make. The people of Israel had a choice to make as they made their journey into their Promised Land. Our lives are the same journey...to our own Promised Land and eternal life in Christ:
Deuteronomy 30:14-20 - ...See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the LORD your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess. ...I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.