Saturday, April 26, 2008

Our Circumstances don't Determine God's Goodness

Last night we had our friend Art over for dinner. He was discussing his diabetes equipment with Gary, who's now selling these things. His wife had just gone off to a women's retreat, and so feeding the guy who's fending to an extent for himself seemed the natural thing. We used to attend the same church, and so through these types of visits we get the occasional update, a little peek into the lives of those we knew so well before. But last night we got distressing news in this regard.
While we were still at that church, Andrew, a wonderful man in his 20s who has a wife Grace and two young children started sharing prayer requests about a sore in his mouth; when he went to get it examined, one thing led to another, and it turned out he had mouth cancer. He hadn't smoked, or had his teeth bleached (that was one of the questions asked him), and there was just no clear explanation. The cancer was unusual for his age, for someone who had never smoked. He had some of his tongue removed, had chemo and radiation therapy, and after a while regained his speech. While this whole episode clearly challenged the couple, it never shook their faith in God, and I'm sure it was a testimony to friends, relatives and medical staff.
They moved back to their hometown once their lives stabilized, and I'm glad they're where they want to be, near family. He has now gone through another surgery in his throat because the cancer has come back, in a scattered form, and the doctors aren't sure whether or where it might show up again. They're looking at more radiation and chemotherapy. I read their blog last night. He spoke of how people said it was not fair for him to get this cancer; his response was that no, it wasn't fair, and then enumerated many great things that God had provided in his life, including his faith--and that no, he didn't deserve those good things. I wish I had the words to express how I am so thankful for their solid faith, the knowledge that this doesn't mean that God was ever less than good, that He ever meant anything for evil. He allows this for His sovereign purposes, and as horrible as it is, they are going through it to His glory. Psalm 55:23 says, Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.
It seems there is always someone to challenge, to ask "Where is your God now?" I remember a woman asking me that after we lost a baby a number of years back. I hope that she understood just how much I came to know God's goodness better through it all. I know I was in His extremely loving hands all through that time, and our little girl is in His hands evermore, who is more capable of loving her than I am. It is no doubt in part for the sake of the people who look on and wonder where our God is, that we must at times go through the things that would make others question His very existence and His goodness. Please pray for Andrew and Grace, for their family as they go through this.
God is good, there is no darkness in Him at all. It is not something we will in this life be capable of fully understanding, why He lets these things happen; I like to think we might come to see it in heaven, but even if we don't, we can trust Him. 1 John 1:5 says that This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.

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