The year 2020 proved difficult for many with unforeseen challenges, setbacks, and turmoil. Despite living in a fallen world, the year caught many of us off guard and shook up our faith. God never promised us a life absent difficulty, but He did promise to never forsake us, and that He would work all things together for our good.
As I embarked on the year 2020, I had lost sight of God and was living under an illusion of security as I assumed I had control over my life. I’m not talking about control over the day-to-day choices we make—we all have free will, and our choices do matter. I’m talking about not consulting God first, and not seeking His guidance over those choices and the trajectory of our lives.
I soon discovered my way was not better than His.
In June of 2020, while in a season of stress as a new, young lawyer, I received a hefty cancer diagnosis—Stage IV melanoma. Despite the obvious, I had no idea the magnitude of what was just up ahead. Beyond the valleys and mountaintop giants was opportunity: a chance to discover the deeper meaning to this life.
Interestingly, when things are going smoothly in our lives, our ego may operate under the false pretense that we are the reason for our success. But when our plans are hijacked and we are taken off course, we suddenly blame God and lose faith in His promises and abilities. We are not made to face life absent of God, but to lean on Him for guidance and to trust Him instead. If we attempt to face giants alone, the weight becomes unbearable, and we are surely to crumble beneath it. By consulting our flesh, we never meet God on the other side of that mountain with our answer—our victory.
Looking back, no wonder I was exhausted, riddled with disease, and not living up to my full potential. At some point along the way, I traded my faith in God for “control.” Cleary, my life plans were not in alignment with God’s, and so began my journey from self-destruction to self-reflection.
Finding ourselves in the thick of a battle reveals an opportunity to look within, overcome, and glorify God. He blesses the broken road by equipping us with all we need to see victory on the other side. But we must also seek to learn all we can in the valleys. We open up a healing dialogue with God when we ask Him what we can learn from our trials instead of blaming Him. This is a way to attach meaning to our pain. These trials become divine tools designed to grow us into His image. While this growth may feel like a burial, we are merely planted, and then shaped under pressure to eventually bloom.
As we cry out to God in the depths of our brokenness, He meets us right where we are. This is exactly where He wants us—not because He isn’t good, but because we are most useful to Him in our weakness. There, we realize our great need for Him. There, His power is perfected. There, a beautiful exchange of our weakness for His strength takes place.
The veil now torn from our eyes, we begin to see His light shine through all of those beautiful, once-broken pieces. In this moment of rescue and renewal, I discovered cancer is happening for me, not to me. Had I not experienced the shadows; I surely could not appreciate the light. And I certainly could not reflect His light onto the world.
This year, may we all begin to see trials in this life as nudges from God towards our truth, and to bring others to wholeness in Jesus Christ.
Love & Sunblock
Original publication and feature can be found on Jesus Calling’s blog at https://www.jesuscalling.com/blog/rescued-and-renewed/