Thursday, January 13, 2011

Five Years Later

It has been five years since I wrote the following on our CaringBridge site.  It was the day before I went in for prostate surgery.  God is good!  Five years later I am still cancer free.  Praise God from whom all blessings flow!  ~ Jerry

Sunday, January 8, 2006 2:28 PM, CST

This week someone asked me “why did you have to get cancer?” My unspoken response was, “Why not me?” Is the God who is sovereign worthy of praise and thanksgiving only when He does what we judge to be good or what we want to have happen? God is not our cosmic “butler” on call to do only what we please or desire when we want it and how we want it. We need to be reminded He answers to no man. Does God bring cancer into our lives? In John 9:1-12, Jesus heals a man blind from birth. Jesus’ disciples ask him “who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind?” Jesus responds in verse 3: “Neither this man nor his parents sinned but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.”

Why did I get cancer? So God’s glory can be displayed. If I come through the surgery, “to God be the glory.” If I die, may I die well “to God be the glory.”

In John Flavel’s book "The Mystery of Providence" on p. 182, Flavel asks a question: “Does God perform all things for His people? Do not distrust Him then when new difficulties arise. Why should you think He that has done so many things for you will now do no more?” Isaiah 59:1 reads “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.” God will hear. Why would He not listen now? I am ready for whatever He has in store but I know for sure this cancer didn’t slip by when He was not looking or happen when He was asleep (He never sleeps). No, it happened for whatever reason God has in mind, even though I don’t know exactly what it is. I don’t need all the answers. I just need to OBEY and go forward in trust.

What questions should we be asking? I borrow from Jerry Bridges book "The Joy of Fearing God", p. 152. “Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do I wholeheartedly acknowledge God’s authority, both in His precepts and His providences, in my life? Do I resent or question any of His providential circumstances in my life?
  2. Do I seek to live all of life under the authority of God’s Word, believing what it says and seeking to apply its teachings to every area of my life?
  3. Am I chafing—either openly or secretly in my heart—under any God-ordained human authorities? Are there any relationships here in which I need to change my attitude or actions?” (Jerry’s definition: internal friction: God exercising control in our lives.)
We need these trials to do some (in my case, much needed) soul searching. 
Thank all of you for your concern and prayers and the love shown to our family. I will close with a benediction I sometimes use in country churches when I preach:
“May the roads rise up to meet you, may the prairie winds be always at your back . May the sun shine warmly upon your face and may the rain and snow fall gently upon your fields, til we meet again, May the Lord hold you in the palm of His hand, and may He keep your hand steady till the setting of the golden sun and His glorious return. In Jesus name. And all God’s people said Amen."
Note: The kids and Judi hope to update from the hospital to keep people in touch. Again, thank you all. ~ Jerry

Scriptures for reading and pondering: Acts 17:24-31; Deut. 8: 1-18; Job 2:9; John 9:1-12; Isaiah 59:1; Job 42:1-6.

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