Faith and Challenges: When it gets Real

For the past ten months I have been focusing on what it would look like if we truly walked in faith in our everyday life circumstances. God has been taking me deeper in this area than ever before.  Scripture says Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.  So how do we apply faith when dealing with situations that have an unknown or perhaps could lead to unwelcome outcomes?

Due to privacy issues, I won’t reveal the persons name, at their request.  This week I accompanied someone close to me to the hospital to have a diagnostic CT scan to try to find the source of their discomfort.  The physician assistant requested the scan, expecting to find some diverticulitis.  However, after the scan was over we were requested to return immediately to medical clinic.  As we rode back to the clinic I prayed that whatever was revealed it was under the Name of Jesus.  It did not reign over it.

As we waited in the waiting room peace still prevailed I could tell my dear one was not feeling well.  They ushered us back and informed us there was a mass in the abdomen–looking like the pancreas, spleen and abdomen were involved.  Later testing revealed it is a 10 cm tumor.  I mentioned, God has a plan.  The PA asked if the patient prayed and when the answer was affirmative, she asked if she could pray for us!  As we held hands and she prayed we felt the presence of God and still we walked in His peace.

Obviously this is a lot to process and absorbed.  As we drove to their house and shared the news with their spouse you can imagine shock and disbelief along with many hugs and reassurances took place.  I left them and went home to do some phone calling and processing myself.

The next morning God led me to Philippians 4:6-7.  I just knew this was His strategy for those of us who are family and friends could apply to this situation.  I want to pass it on to you.  It is applicable to any situation actually.  It is not a new revelation, but it was so clear to me that as I have employed its strategy peace prevails and faith keeps us on the path.

Don’t worry about anything: instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Step 1.  Don’t worry about anything.  Wow, this can be a tough one.  I realize I need to capture those stray fear thoughts, those what if thoughts, but what about this type of thoughts. Our first challenge was not to go “OH NO” the pancreas is involved, and the survival rate of pancreatic cancer is not good.  I had to take my mind off those statistics and put them on the God who reigns over everything.  We had no sure diagnosis at that time.  So I chose to not let my mind go to the worse case scenario.  It took a bit of effort not to, but as I reminded myself we don’t know the specific situation as yet, so don’t go there.  Two days later and with God’s amazing scheduling, there is a clearer understanding of what organs are involved.  However, we still do not have the pathology report, so I choose to do the next step.

Step 2.  Pray about everything.  Instead of worrying, pray.  Capture those rogue fear thoughts with prayer.  Talk to Him about your fears and concerns.  I was reminded again of the blessing of having the Holy Spirit as my prayer partner!  He loves those involved.  After Starla, the PA’s prayer I added one of my own.  God, get every good thing you can out of this because you know this is hard.  Use it for your good.  In Jesus Name, amen.

Step 3.  Tell God what you need.  Scripture exhorts us not to borrow trouble from tomorrow, but to live each day with trust in Him.  So every day, I ask Him for the grace for the day and for His direction specifically needed for this situation.  Clear diagnosis, wisdom for which hospital, doctors, pain and nausea control,  good communication and rest are some of the prayers we have prayed.  Peace for family members who are struggling with fear is a big one.  Taking one bite at  time this elephant will be walked out.  (Mixed metaphor I know!)

Step 4.  Thank him for ll he has done.  We have already seen his hand in this situation.  We thanked him for sunny days and His love for us.  Cultivating thankfulness during stressful times is a tool to maintaining  faith and grace in the situation.  It is a great reminder of who we are placing our faith in and what he can and will do.  He has not and will leave us in our trials by ourselves, but he comes into the midst with his presence.

Step 5.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds everything we can understand.    We cannot try to figure out everything right now. The “why’s” are a big detractor during stressful challenges.  This is not the time to try to figure everything out.  Walk in the peace he gives and rest in that.  Cast the other concerns on him and watch his hand move.

Step 6: His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.  We need to let  his peace guard our hearts and our minds, otherwise they will be assaulted with tormenting fears and all the worse case scenarios that most will never happen.  Those thoughts rob us of the gift of our todays.  I believe we are going to continue to see God’s hand moving and I trust this child of God will enjoy long days on this earth.  However, there are times when our natural best case scenario doesn’t happen and perhaps our loved ones are taken home.  God is still in control and still moving His good purpose and will.  Just as in everything else, do not let the enemy of your soul steal the gift of the present with those you love.

These steps are not new to me.  However, when the Lord showed me them clearly as his strategy I knew I needed to share them.  Please pray for us as we walk this faith journey.  Sometimes it feels like we have been pushed into an alternate reality.  I am so thankful for our loving gracious God that helps us in times of trouble.  God bless you today as you face your challenges–big or small he does care for us in them all.