Intentional Pain

Many of you know that 2 weeks ago I underwent my last breast cancer radiation treatment. Unfortunately, I recently had to return to my oncologist due to the excessive pain and burning of my skin.

The condition of my skin was worsening. I was told that it would get worse but in my mind, there was no way it should be this bad.

The oncologist said that yes my skin was worse than what most radiation patients experience but for my particular situation the condition of my skin was normal. He said that he intentionally wanted my skin to burn this bad and that I may be suffering now but I’d be thanking him later.

The statement my oncologist made really got me thinking about intentional suffering resulting in a better tomorrow for ourselves or for others. In particular, how God allows suffering for a greater purpose.

Noah endured over 100 years of hard work, ridicule, and opposition to build an ark that God told him to build in order to save himself, his family, and the animals from being destroyed in the flood [Genesis 6-8].

Through Noah’s intended suffering, God saved the human race and the animals and we are here today to read about Noah’s faith and be encouraged by it.

Joseph was hated by his brothers. They sold him as a slave and he was taken to Egypt. While there, he was falsely accused of rape and spent many years in prison. Later he found favor in the eyes of Pharaoh and was placed in charge of all of Egypt; saving the world from starvation [Genesis 37-41].

In Genesis 50:20 Joseph says to his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

Ruth, a Moabite, married into a Jewish family. Her father-in-law died, her brother-in-law died, and her own husband died. She had a choice to make. Go back to her Moabite family or go with her mother-in-law, Naomi, to a foreign country to start over.

Ruth chose to stay with Naomi. In a foreign land, she worked hard gleaning grain so she and Naomi could eat. That’s when she met Boaz. They ended up getting married and having a son named Obed; the grandfather of David [Ruth 1-4].

God intentionally allowed Ruth’s suffering so that through her David would be born. We are still learning many lessons from the life and faith of both Ruth and David. Not to mention, Jesus is in their genealogy [Matthew 1:1-17].

Jesus was born to die. He left His place in heaven, came to earth, and was born of a virgin. He lived a life of obedience to His Heavenly Father. His life and death were a sacrifice for all of us. Because of His sacrificial death on the cross, we have forgiveness of sins and eternal life [Colossians 1:13-14].

Jesus rose from the dead, defeating death, hell, and the grave. Through Him, believers, also have victory over death, hell, and the grave [1 Corinthians 15:54-57, Revelation 1:18].

Oh, that’s not all, Jesus then ascended to the Father where He sits at His right hand forever living to make intercession for us [Romans 8:34].

And not only that, He sent His Holy Spirit to dwell within every believer; filling them with the Spirit of the Lord, wisdom, understanding, counsel, power, knowledge, and the fear of God [Isaiah 11:2].

God intentionally allowed Jesus to suffer for the benefit of the whole world.

Isaiah 53:10 But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands.

What pain are you currently going through? Maybe, like Noah, you are being ridiculed for your faith. Maybe people think you are foolish as you obey God and walk in His ways day after day.

Maybe, like Joseph, you are hated or have been betrayed by those closest to you. Maybe your own family. Maybe you’ve been wrongly accused of something and are being punished for something you didn’t do.

Maybe, like Ruth, you have lost a spouse and with them your provision or hope for starting your own family. Maybe you’ve had to move to a strange place with strange people and strange customs. Maybe you have to work a back-breaking job every day to feed yourself and a loved one.

Have you considered that God has intentionally allowed your suffering for a greater purpose?

What do Noah, Joseph, Ruth, and Jesus have in common? They all obeyed God and trusted Him and His plan. And that’s what we have to do.

We have to resist self-pity and stay focused on God and His word. We have to keep moving forward and never give up hope for a better tomorrow.

Romans 8:18, 28 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

~Patrice Maguire

Prayer for salvation: Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Journey/Week 7

As I wait for the radiation oncologist to contact me, letting me know what my next steps are, I’ve been reading a book about breast cancer. The book goes into detail about everything concerning breast cancer: types, procedures, treatment options, treatment side effects, etc.

The more I read the book the more I don’t like my cancer treatment options. There are no win-win options. Some of the long term side effects/collateral damage are disconcerting. It’s discouraging, to say the least.

I feel like a child being dragged along kicking and screaming to a place I don’t want to go. That’s how my week has been. It’s been a real struggle! As I told my husband while sitting at the kitchen table crying, “I don’t want to do it! I don’t want cancer treatment!”

When we get discouraged we sometimes want to quit or run away. I can’t even tell you how many times I have considered literally running away from this whole situation. Just get in my jeep and drive and drive. But what would that get me? Where would it get me? I’d be no better off than I am right now. As a matter of fact, I’d be worse off.

Jonah ran away. God had given him an assignment. God told him to go to a place he didn’t like to preach to people he didn’t like. To Jonah, the assignment was undesirable and unwanted. When he ran away he experienced nothing but trouble. But God didn’t let Jonah off that easy. God continued to pursue him until Jonah hit rock bottom.

Sometimes rock bottom looks like the inside of the belly of a whale. Can you imagine the smell? Rebellion stinks!

Jonah prayed and the Lord rescued him. Then told him to go back and complete his assignment. Jonah, learning his lesson, obeyed the Lord, went to where God had told him to go and did what God had told him to do. As a result, many people repented and were rescued from destruction. Unfortunately, Jonah’s attitude never improved. He obeyed reluctantly! [Jonah 1-4]

I don’t believe the Lord has given me breast cancer, but I do believe He has allowed it. Therefore, it is His will and part of His plan for a greater purpose.

Isaiah 53:10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer, and though the Lord makes His life an offering for sin, He will see His offspring and prolong His days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in His hand.

God’s will is to use my health crisis for His glory and for the good of others including myself. For my good by using it to change me and to draw me into a deeper relationship with Him. For the good of others by using me to share my experiences with those that need encouragement and hope as they go through a crisis.

I don’t want to be like Jonah; running away from God and the assignment He has given me. I don’t want to have a bad attitude going into cancer treatment.

Who knows how God can use this undesirable, unwanted situation? Maybe there is someone in the cancer treatment center who needs hope and encouragement. Maybe that someone is me. Who knows? God knows! He has a plan! It’s not my job to understand. It’s my job to trust and obey.

I don’t want to reluctantly obey, I want to go into treatment with a good attitude expecting to see God move in amazing ways; changing me and those around me. And by God’s grace, I’ll be able to do just that.

I want to respond to my assignment the way Jesus did.

Luke 22:42 “Father, if You are willing, take this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.”

Hebrews 12:2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer, and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

As a result of Jesus’ obedience, our sins are forgiven and eternal life is available to all who accept His gift.

What unwanted, undesirable situation are you facing today? Job relocation? Cancer treatment? Dialysis? Jury duty? Being kind to a grumpy neighbor? Diet change? Exercise? Disconnecting yourself from negative friends? It could be anything, seemingly large or small. If it’s an assignment from God, it’s important.

God is wanting to change our perspective on the assignment He has given us. He wants us to see it through His eyes; from His perspective. Imagine the amazing things God could do in us and through us if we just decide to trust and obey Him.

Will you willingly accept your God-given assignment today? Will you accept it with a good attitude, expecting to see God work in amazing ways in you and through you?

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.

~Patrice Maguire

Prayer for salvation: Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forgetting What is Behind

For the past couple of months, we have had a lot of deer flies and horse flies on our property and around our house. Before that, our dog Autumn thoroughly enjoyed running around at the back of our fifteen acres. We would take her back there and she would run around and explore; smelling everything and just enjoying being free and enjoying life in general. When the flies arrived on the scene that all ended. She was even afraid to just go outside.

The flies are pretty much gone now. There may be a stray one here and there but nothing like it had been. However, Autumn is not convinced. Thankfully, she isn’t afraid to go outside anymore. It took her a while to trust that the flies were gone. But she still won’t go beyond the fence on her own.

Recently my husband wanted to prove to her that the flies were no longer at the back of the property either. He opened the gate and coaxed her beyond the fence. She reluctantly followed him. He kept encouraging her to go a little further and a little further. The whole while she would continually stop and look back at the house. They got more than halfway through the backyard and she had gone as far as she could go. She stopped, turned around and ran back home. She anxiously sat at the back door waiting for it to open to safety.

My husband wasn’t going to give up that easily so he put the leash on her and took her back out there. This time taking her all the way to the back of the fifteen mostly wooded acres. She was frightened the entire time and constantly wanted to go back to the house. My husband was certain she would begin to understand that the flies were gone and that she could go back to enjoying life and running free again. Unfortunately, she was never convinced. She was so happy to be back home once it was all over.

Isn’t that just like us? We want to hold on to what’s comfortable and safe even though it may be keeping us from something better. It’s just easier. God is calling us out of our comfort zones and out of our fears. He’s encouraging us to leave our disappointments, our discouragements, and our hurts behind. He’s saying “I have so much more for you. I have a life of peace, joy, and freedom for you. All you have to do is trust Me. I will be with you.”

Philippians 3:13-14  Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 

~Patrice Maguire