by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro ©2014
Today begins the process of radioactive iodine treatment which doctors feel strongly is the next step in “cure” of the thyroid cancer discovered July 14th and surgically dealt with on August 13th. I am thankful the treatment exists, sorrowful the only conventional treatment option is to put a substance into my body on purpose that in and of itself can be cancer-causing (potential leukemia down the road), and disconcerted at the prospect of putting something so unhealthy into my body on purpose though the hoped-for outcome is better health.
I am one who does not treat the body un-healthfully on purpose. I exercise, avoid artificial sweetener, do not drink soda, eat sugar and drink coffee in moderation, avoid most junk food, use mostly whole grains, eat my vegetables and even make and drink fresh vegetable juice. When the birth of our second daughter was delayed two weeks beyond her due date, I was able to safely postpone the idea of induction until natural labor set in. For all three births of our children I was tremendously blessed to be able to give birth naturally with no drugs or IV at all. Bottom line, it is not my will to take anything radioactive on purpose! But it is the advice of my doctors of the next best course to ensure the cancer is gone and when I pray, the Lord is not telling me to refuse it.
Our lives are not our own. They have never been. This brings me back to Jesus and one critical aspect of the example He gave us. Though being equal with God the Father, He set aside His own will to fully do the will of the Father, meaning Jesus did not pursue His own ideas and plans, but looked to the Father, listened for HIS will and did it—even to death on the cross (and as I recall, this was so massively not His will, Jesus asked to be relieved of the task and sweat drops of blood due to anticipatory physical stress).
Not my will but Yours. This has to be my heart’s cry. I need to thank God for today and every blessing which will be in it. I need to thank Him that this procedure exists and for His perfect will for my life.
Nowhere does the Lord promise life in this world will be easy. Nowhere does He promise ongoing bliss instead of hardship. This world is not our home. With Him forever in heaven is. But here is our place of decision. Will we stop, turn and recognize our need for God and Jesus’ gift of reconciliation with Him? Will we let Him use us for His purpose to reveal Him to the world His way wherever this life takes us (both the places we are glad to go and those which cause us to cringe)?
I say, yes, Lord, yes. Have Your way! Is there anything better than to be used by God for His purposes? How could there be if He is really Most High?
Ultimately there can nothing better than the will of God for each of us. We cannot assure our own future. Death is coming. We are less than God. God as all-good Creator and Master of the Universe, who in His essence is love, has much better plans than we do. He must. He has the power to take what the adversary means for evil in our lives and use it for great good with eternal effect if we will pick up our crosses and follow. When we follow our Master Shepherd, He uses us as His vessels through which His goodness flows, just as He did Jesus. He wants to be seen in this world. He generally does not choose to manifest miraculously in the sky. He chooses to use us. But that means a submission to His will with an inner quiet born of trust in Him. Jesus said not My will but Yours, Father, and through Jesus’ obedience the Father provided the way for all who desire it to be reunited with Him forever in the destiny for which He created us. Because Jesus laid down His own will, death is not the end, but a door to all which has been promised to those who choose to believe and follow.
None of us are Jesus, but we are each a part of His Body which He uses His way as an expression of the fullness of Himself to a weary, discouraged, despairing and dying world. None of us will live forever here. These bodies are not meant to last, so yes, I will do what I can to ensure my health, but no matter what I do with each passing day I am nearing His time when I leave this body behind and take my eternal place with Him and all those who have gone before. Only He knows when that day will be. Only He knows what lies in between. My hope is to believe that through all things if I keep my focus on Him and listening for His will and following where He leads that He will, will, will bring eventual good through it because this is His promise (and as One whose name is Truth, our Lord cannot lie).
Cancer is a potential aspect of life’s journey which was not on my to-do list. It is not something I am excited about. But I am excited about what my Lord can do through it—what He promises to do through all our challenges and battles. He promises to become known to more through them and along the way we are strengthened spiritually as well which increases our joy and His effect. There is goodness through the storm when we choose to keep our eyes on Him, seeking always to see His eternal perspective instead of our limited temporal one (even though some days it is hard to feel anything good, let alone comprehend it). As always we are returned to the choice to trust in Him especially when we cannot see and do not understand.
So, Lord, I confess a bad attitude about this procedure. Please forgive me. With renewed conviction I declare, dear Lord that my trust is in You alone. I cannot control any outcomes but You can. I ask dear Lord, that if it be Your will, this procedure indeed kill any remaining cancer so it can be said as the doctors described, that the cancer is cured. I ask also dear Lord that the radioactive iodine would not affect my body in a negative way which causes undesirable consequences down the road. But more than anything, Lord, I thank You for the gift of every day and Your perfect plan for my life. Thank You that You not only love us but give us good purpose every day of our lives until You ordain the day to bring us home. Thank You that with You nothing is wasted. Thank You for the promise of the life for which You created us after our physical death through the gift Jesus accomplished on the cross. Thank You for coming and giving us Your example. Lord God, I will keep my eyes on You and by Your power and grace You will help me to walk on top of the waves through all storms. The storms will be there but so will Your strength and grace to get through it until You call me home. Lord, my trust is in You. I lay down my will and say not my will, but Yours. You are all that I want and all that I need on this journey home. Thank You for never leaving me or forsaking me. In Jesus’ name, Amen
Thank you for all of you having been praying for me. May the Lord bless you and keep you and use you for great good through all life’s storms from here till eternity!
Note: in 2010 I composed, recorded and released a song on my first Christmas worship CD, “Christmas Worship” about the beauty and necessity of choosing to submit to the will of God focusing on the Christmas story as inspiration. Here are the lyrics, which help me even today make my prayer to be in His will and not my own:
NOT MY WILL BUT YOURS music and lyrics by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2010
1. Mary and Joseph knew You were God. Humbly they bowed, You are Lord. They trusted, they worshiped, gave up their lives. Not my will but Yours.
Chorus: Not my will, but Yours. Not my will but Yours. The manger, the cross, resurrection. Not my will but Yours.
2. Mary and Joseph far from home. No place to lay their heads. They trusted, they worshiped, laid down their lives. You led to Bethlehem.
Following Final Chorus: Now in my time of decision, will I choose my will or Yours? Yes, I lay down my life this Christmas, and say, “Not my will, but Yours.”
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. (Isa. 26:3 NIV)
For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. (John 6:38 NIV)
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.” 38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. Luke 1:35-38 NIV)
In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome(1 John 5:3 NIV)
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Prov. 3:5-6 NIV)NUGGETS OF GOD’s WISDOM God’s Wisdom is more precious than gold. This blog by Elizabeth Fulgaro helps readers discover God’s way versus the world’s one “nugget” at a time. http://www.ascendinworship.wordpress.com www.eaglesnestfoundation.org
Christmas is coming. For new original worship music with which to usher in this blessed season and stay focused on Christ, visit the CDBaby link below. “Christmas Worship” is available now. “Christmas Bells Call to Worship” will be available the beginning of December.
Elizabeth Fulgaro is a wife, mother, writer, inspirational speaker, worship leader, composer, singer & recording artist. She is also a Certified Financial Planner and Accredited Financial Counselor with a heart for helping Christians understand and steward their finances God’s way.
For books, worship cds, Bible studies and teachings written by Elizabeth Fulgaro or to schedule her to come speak to your group please visit www.holyspiritpress.org Worship music audio clips can be found at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ElizabethFulgaro and on itunes.
Elizabeth is the Founder of Eagles Nest Foundation which provides spiritual support & encouragement to military and military families as well as those in physical and emotional battles (such as cancer, long-term illness) as well as those grieving a loss. For information email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org