by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro © 2015
This morning was an ultrasound to check on the status of lymph nodes in my neck 6 month post-radioactive iodine treatment and 8 ½ months post thyroid cancer surgery. It is the first of a number of appointments to check whether the surgery plus treatment have indeed addressed last year’s thyroid cancer in a way they can state I am “cancer-free” and healed.
I was not stressed going to the scan. Yet I did not look forward to it. More than anything it was one more reminder of the brevity of life, which doesn’t cause me to fear death but sometimes makes me sad because I enjoy working for our Lord here so much and sometimes cannot quite fathom heaven. (Sometimes I have to apologize to our Lord. Do I love Him more or the work He gives me to do?! Oh, Lord, help it to be all simply for love of You!)
No question, this calm in the face of tests which have the possibility of bringing unwelcome news was due solely to my faith in God. Though He can heal every disease, the calm I experienced was not because I was sure He would miraculously heal me of everything which came my way. Certainly, He can and does miraculously heal. However, eventually every one of us will face physical death. Even those Jesus healed (about whom we read over and over again in Scripture) eventually died physically. Our bodies are not made for eternity. They will wear out. It is simply a matter of how and when.
This is not a negative mindset. I don’t dwell on it. It does not depress me. It is reality. As a Christian, I know death may be the end of our temporal physical lives, but it is the door from life to the eternal all-good Life with God for which we were created.
Thus though our Lord provides for us and heals us in answer to prayer many, many times, I have no expectation for our Lord to constantly deliver me from illness. He will for as long as it is His will. On the contrary, clearly at some point (it may be earlier or later) we will each die, and there will be suffering along the way. Such is the condition of this life in this world, which will never be heaven.
Jesus is our perfect example. Where the Father wanted miraculous healings to reveal the reality of who He is, these occurred. However, even Jesus died at the hands of evil and in the eyes of worldly wisdom His physical life was abbreviated grossly from that which might have been considered a normal lifespan. Yet through this sacrifice, our Lord ushered in salvation for the world. Unspeakable goodness worked through evil! He will work goodness through us as well.
Rest assured I do not seek early physical death. (One of my grandmothers lived to 100. Lord, may I live till 100 too?) I am blessed here. Indeed I would mourn if evidence showed likelihood my physical life would be over soon. There are people here I love and there is such good, purposeful work to be done for our Lord here in addition to unabashed worship of Him. But I am not afraid.
No, the reason for my calm in the face of tests is that I trust Him, whether I am physically healed or not. I trust His plan and His will, no matter what it is—death to Life, longer life here, sickness, or health—whatever!
This is my mindset lying on the table as the sonogram begins. The technician clicks and clicks again over and over, scanning places which are beyond the scope of the area I had expected. Why is she marking so many areas? Fear tries to begin to creep in. What if she found something? Oh ugh! Really?! My trust is in the Lord, and yet there is still such a mental battle! Really?!
I realize in that moment, that once again I have a choice. I can let myself fall into anxiety or I can receive this as one more reminder God is in control, He alone knows what is to come from today until the day He takes me home. I do know and believe He will use all in my life for eternal good in the lives of others and my own –even cancer—if I will let Him. Jesus went to the cross that we might live FOREVER. If He allows more cancer, then He can use it as a vehicle through which more people He loves can be helped to choose His kingdom. I need to trust Him and be at rest in it.
I don’t believe there is more cancer, but I do in this moment want to be reconciled with the possibility and in His peace no matter what. I do not want to feel anxiety. I do not want to feel fear. These are not constructive to my Lord using me in this place and oh, how I want to be used by Him in all places at all times!
“God, to You alone I give once again my life. Lord, I have given you my life before to do with as You will, but here I am turning it over to You again, and this time I mean it on a deeper level. Where before there has been a part of me which has wanted to ask You not to cause my life to have to go through the dark spaces and places as You use me, this is no longer the case. My life is Yours, Lord. It has never been my own. Lord, use me for whatever days I am here for whatever you want. Put me wherever I can have the greatest God-effect for You. There are many dark places which would not have been my choice, but I lay all those at Your feet and bow to You. Use my remaining life according to Your perfect will and I will glorify Your name forever.”
In the face of authentically offering myself to Him once again, the inkling of fear loses its power and leaves. A blanket of His peace descends upon me there on the table in the sonogram room—a gift from Him in the midst of what is not earthly fun. I am swathed in His peace and even joy. Bliss. True contentment. Purpose. Love. I am blessed there in that place without measure (as He blesses us every place that we let go and let God).
I am in His will. It is right. It is good. The prayer was good. I meant it. I am at such peace in Him, through Him, by Him and for Him. True riches this side of heaven!
And undoubtedly there will be future moments where I will have to turn myself over to Him yet again. *Sigh* The humility of our humanity. Lord, how great Thou art!
NUGGETS OF GOD’s WISDOMGod’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
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 albums, Bible studies and teachings written by Elizabeth Fulgaro or to schedule her to come speak to your group please visit www.holyspiritpress.org Music can be purchased and audio clips heard 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