Sometimes I wonder.
Why does cancer — or any illness (life-threatening or not) — hit some people and not others? Would faith “as small as a mustard seed” prevent a Christian from ever getting sick? Would faith “as small as a mustard seed” prevent a Christian from dying of anything other than “natural causes?” Did illness and disease become new “natural causes” when Adam and Eve ate that first apple, the Forbidden One? When, at the Fall, the perfection You had created became flawed?
I spent much of yesterday morning in Culpeper, at “It’s the Cure.” A Christian street outreach across from the railroad station, in a park on a corner the size of a postage stamp. The space might have been small, but it was full of LOVE. The metal sculpture there said it silently, with its one word — “LOVE” — in five-foot tall letters. Your servants gathered there said it loudly, with their many words and actions.
The 30-something sister-in-Christ who organized this beautiful event welcomed me with a warm embrace. By Your Divine Orchestration, I had been invited just a few days before to be the keynote speaker — to share a testimony from my walk through the Valley of the Shadow. She said she has come to hate cancer and wanted to hold this event to honor those who have battled this disease. Those who have won and lost. Those who are still fighting.
Then she stated emphatically: “I’m so thankful cancer is something I will never have to go through myself.” I asked, “How do you know?” She answered, in essence, that she was claiming this by faith. She believes in the power of Your love, Jesus. She has received Your love and, therefore, refuses to make room for cancer.
“Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20)
Is her faith already as BIG as a small mustard seed, Lord?
I later learned there was also a more personal reason moving her to organize this beautiful event — a dear friend’s husband, who is now with You, Lord. He felt severe indigestion one day and went to the doctor. Shortly thereafter, he died of stomach cancer that was diagnosed too late. In light of her bold statement earlier, I couldn’t help but wonder: Was his faith somewhat lacking? Certainly Your love for him was not.
I saw the most darling little girl there. She wore a t-shirt that said she was a Princess and a Warrior — two “titles” that resonate deeply with me. I, too, am a Warrior Princess. I learned that she is three years old. At the age of two, she was diagnosed with leukemia. She is one year into a ten-year treatment plan. So I wondered again: Where does faith — hers or her parents’ — fit into that scenario, Lord? Surely Your love for each of them is as infinite as it is for me and my thirty-something sister.
So why is this little child having to walk such a difficult road?
“… your Father in heaven… causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:45)
By Your prompting, I was invited to pray over this little girl, with her family and everyone else gathered around. I have never prayed for a little child before, least of all for one on her particular journey. Yet, amazingly, You gave me “little girl” words that spoke of Your Great Love for her in a way that left her beaming.
“A cheerful heart is good medicine.” (Proverbs 17:22a)
It was raining yesterday. It was drizzling as I drove there and stopped just as I got to the event. My newly-found sister and several of her friends declared by faith that the rain was finished. The drizzle started again halfway into the event; it later became torrential rain that forced the event to end early. You once told a storm to be still, Lord… and it obeyed. Why couldn’t these dear ones do the same yesterday?
I have more questions than answers this morning.
Sometimes, although I am weak, I walk with the confidence and boldness that comes when Your Spirit empowers the gift of faith You have instilled in me. Sometimes, I just feel weak and puny… and the results of my efforts show it.
Yet, some things I know. I know You are Sovereign, Lord — always in control even when the opposite appears to be true. I know You allowed cancer into my life for Your good purposes. I know You have used it to refine me and to better equip me for the work You have destined me to do in Your service. I know there are people living in darkness — in valleys with shadows of all kinds — who need Your Light. People who need to know and experience You as The Hope of the World and The Healer. I know You have given me a testimony of these truths — thousands of testimonies — and You will make the way for me to share them, with those You have hand-picked, in ways that help turn their hearts to You.
Some of them were there yesterday, Lord, when You called me to speak… and enabled them to hear.
I have much to learn yet about the faith that moves mountains and the authority You have given me to overcome all the power of the enemy. (Luke 10:19) I am grateful, Lord, that You are a patient and persistent Teacher… and that, by Your Grace, I will “graduate” from Your “school” with “honors” I could never deserve but that You will, nonetheless, generously bestow.
Sill… sometimes I wonder. And maybe the wondering is good. Because the wondering — the questions — provoke seeking. And when we seek… we find. I am grateful for what I already know, and I am grateful for all I have yet to learn. I am grateful most of all for this eternal journey with You: Jehovah-Rapha, The Almighty Healer. My Daddy.