I’ve been reflecting more about the Holy Spirit growing fruit in us as we stay attached to Jesus.
Last month, I read through the book of Job in my Bible reading plan [note the fall is a great time to start a plan if you haven’t already]. Job is a poignant reminder that although most of the time we feel safe and secure, there are no guarantees we will never see dark days.
As Job suffered, he basically had two ways to respond.
Choice #1: He could stay with God even though he didn’t like his life, and didn’t understand why bad things were happening to him.
Choice #2: He could turn away from God. He could become bitter and distant from Him.
In the end, Job chose to be humble before God and stay with Him.
I’ve been tracking with three 30-something mothers who are battling cancer. Reading what these believers share in the midst of their chemotherapy and surgery, I am struck by the fruitful harvest of faith in their lives. Through the years, they tended to their attachment to the vine. Now they are holding on tight as fierce storms rage in their lives, and God is holding on to them.
Here is what they say:
Susie Thomas, who has a newborn and three other children, is getting treatment for a brain tumor:
“It is so strange, but the times I’ve spent lying on a table, crammed into a tube, and/or smothered under a mask, have been the most devotional moments I’ve gotten to experience over the past crazy months. When you can’t see or hear much, and there’s a foot-thick door separating you from the world, and there’s no way to know how the story goes, but you know how it ends, what else is there to do but worship? And rest and trust. Believe me, it’s easier to do those things when you can’t do anything else.”
Her husband Ben, writing after Susie’s brain surgery while she was still pregnant:
“Thank you Jesus!
Today my wife is still living and breathing.
Today the baby you are forming and creating is still moving and breathing.
Today I am still married to God’s gift to me, Susie Thomas.
Today, as other days, I am loved by my Savior and my Abba Father.
Today, I have been loved by friends and family all over the world.
Today, I am thankful.
Now, it’s time for a nap!
Jen Anderson, mother of two, battling breast cancer:
“Honest-to-God, I feel I have this bubble of protection over me. It is so powerful and calm and safe. I look outside myself and think, “why aren’t you in a puddle on the floor?” But, I have this protection, so I’m not defeated. It was in place when I first got diagnosed, and praise-the-Lord, I still feel it. I don’t cry everyday, I don’t wallow, I don’t live in fear. I. Am. Happy. (And I think that sounds totally crazy, but I have to say it because it is true.)”
Ashley, mother of three, fighting colon cancer:
“Cancer is small potatoes, chemo is small potatoes, these are ‘light and momentary afflictions’ when you consider what God has in mind for us. The number one gift God has already given me is Jesus, and He desires to give me more and more of His lavish gifts. So when you compare my hardship, which God knows more details than my brain can ever process, (He who walks before, behind and next to me), I can face this with a hope that is not shaken.”
This is the upside down grace of God. These women are facing the worst and yet they are encouraging me.
Would you like to join with me in praying for them in the days to come? Jen has surgery on Thursday. Susie and Ashley are in the middle of chemotherapy.
If you’d like, you could also leave a note of encouragement on Jen’s blog and Susie’s blog. As Jen has shared:
“But it’s the prayers and the encouragement I get from friends, family and strangers that keep up my mental game. I know that when I don’t have the courage or strength to pray for the Really Big Things I want, that you all are doing it for me. I need that. So thank you for leveraging your personal friendship with God on my behalf. You are amazing. I am so grateful.”