God provides for us. It might not seem like he does, but He does. Even in bad circumstances, His love holds us. I am reminded of this as I started the Faith Dare on August 1st. Though I wrote this book four years ago as a dare for local women in leadership, doing it this summer with all of you means more than I can express. Timing, as they say, is everything.
In June I was diagnosed with breast cancer. To say I was shocked would be an understatement. Things moved quickly and within 10 days I was having surgery followed by consultations, appointments and treatment plan decisions. This summer has not turned out as I expected. And frankly, this is not something I have welcomed with open arms. But over the past few weeks I have slowly begun to make peace with a diagnosis that I have no control over.
That’s where faith comes in. The beginning of this faith dare has much to do with how we view our lives. There is a reason we have been pausing to look at our heart, our mind and our thoughts. Understanding who we are and whose we are will go a long way when dealing with the problems and perils of real life. Knowing I am loved and that my life has purpose does not take cancer away. But, knowing I am loved and that my life has purpose gives me a different perspective while walking through the valley of cancer.
“Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of streams…they go from strength to strength…” Psalm 84 5-7
The Valley of Baca is speaking of the desert. What do you do in the desert? Get hot, bothered, thirsty and exhausted? No whining will change the heat! We can make our problems more terrible than they are or we can actually make our problems a place of refreshment. When our heart is set on the pilgrimage — which is an extended journey with a purpose—we are blessed and strong. The heat of our desert, test or trial becomes a place of oasis for us.
The key is setting our focus on the journey and the fact that everything has a purpose. As I keep my heart set on this sacred journey of following after the God who made me, loves me and has purpose for me—my perspective is very different. With this focus my circumstances don’t rule me, but finding God in the middle of the circumstances does.
Each of us are familiar with hardships, trials and challenges. God could take away anything bitter from our cup of life. But He often does not. Is that love? I think so. Just this week My Father and I had a little talk about this cancer business. “ Lord, couldn’t you just take this cup from me?”
Gently and firmly this is what my heart heard…I could, but when I don’t take the cup from you, it’s because there is something for you in the cup… Something for me in the cup? Could this be what scripture speaks of when we are instructed to count it all joy when going through trials? Could it be that there is something for us in each thing we journey through?
The dares the past few days have held me up. I have set my alarm, told myself the truth. Gone to bed with the truth, woke up with new truth and have experienced strength rising as I am intentionally focusing and rebooting daily.
I have found renewed strength and peace. I have treatments on my calendar and hope in my heart. I might not want this cup, but I am His. Because I am His and He is Love…I can have faith that He’s got me.
What about you?
This week we will start focusing on how we live in this world. Are we transforming by the power of God ? Or are we conforming to the culture that wraps it’s allure around our vulnerable hearts and minds?
Will you join me in learning to Live UP one day at a time?
Learning to Live UP,
P.S. ( can you do a P.S in a blog? Not sure of blog etiquette… ) The little boy that I spoke of on Day 4, is a grown up now. Imagine my joy as I saw him leading worship at a Christian Festival on the same day that coincided with his story in the Faith Dare devotion that day. My mind flashed to many memories of raising him. I was reminded that we are living for the bigger picture, raising children for God’s purposes.
You can listen to his worship album, Found In You, on itunes or JustinBrier.com
Assignment For This Week
- Read the daily dares in the Faith Dare book
Group Discussion- Answer here or with your small group
- Complete this sentence from page 28 in the book: To me faith is…. (your answer)
- Our trials mature our faith. What trial has matured your faith most? Is your faith up against a trial right now?
- On page 37 Debbie Alsdorf shares about relearning to walk. Has there been a time in your life when you had to relearn HOPE
- Share an example of being self-willed (doing what I want) and also an example of being God-willed (living for the purpose of God). (page 48)