I never arrived. But there I was.
I don’t want to meet hardships. But when the insufferable hand is extended, I want to offer a firm handshake. Who offers a pansy handshake? But I may never get there.
I had a huge scare this last week. I received a notice after my mammogram saying I needed to come in for more testing. Diagnostic testing. Another mammogram. Ultrasound.
My mother is a breast cancer survivor.
Panic overrode my peace. That simple. That difficult.
I stomped my foot at myself. Shelli, you know you can trust God.
My mind and my spirit know the right things. This is what I know–God has me covered. There is nothing that happens to me that isn’t allowed by Him. In the surrounding heat, God holds out His mighty hand and covers me. The hand continually covers me. But because we just can’t seem to stay in His intended protection, since the beginning of time, we get burned anyway. Things happen. Disease and bad things exist. If my 13-month old daughter had cancer, I’m certainly at risk.
Fear wrestled with my faith. In my dreams. In my daydreams. I thought of every “what if” scenario.
Stupid, stupid, stupid.
Accusations. You were late for your mammogram. How can you remotely encourage others through hardships if you can’t handle this?
I went in for my second mammogram and ultrasound. “We need a biopsy.”
I cried out to my dear friend from childhood. She’d been praying for me since I found out. I told her I’d been sick, dizzy, sleepless. Where was peace?
She said, “No more pansy prayers from me, Shelli. I’m praying seriously for you.”
Much needed laughter penetrated my chest cavity.
A week I wait for the biopsy.
“This looks like a fibroadenoma type mass. Benign. Tiny. But we can’t be sure.”
Hope springs alive in my heart.
My gut feels pierced, my insides covered in pain. I so failed. Man’s word gives me hope. What about God’s word? Hope eternal.
I grab on to His hand that covers me. I peek up at Him. As He lifts me up, my feet flip-flop around barely touching the ground. “God, I trust you. I do. Forgive me. Help me. Let me be okay.” I pray on my face.
The Spirit within says to me, “Say it, Shelli.”
“I don’t know if I can. How did you say it, Lord Jesus? How?”
“Say it, Shelli.” I wrestle with the Spirit within.
I don’t know. “I don’t know that I want to give you approval. I don’t think I can.” I love my girls, I want to be a grandmother one day, and I’m not that tough. I toss and turn in bed. Tears soak my pillow.
“I don’t need your approval.”
I want to pound the pillow. Four mighty words seep out of my mind and heart and mouth, as I choose surrender instead. “Thy. Will. Be. Done.” Tears flood.
Just because you’re covered doesn’t mean you won’t feel the heat. Doesn’t mean you won’t get stings, scrapes, and bruises on your ankles. Doesn’t mean you won’t get beat by flying debris. Doesn’t mean you won’t get wind-burned. But you can believe–it’s a heap lot cooler in the shade of God’s hand. Bearable. You are covered, Shelli. Covered by the blood of the Lamb.
But no more pansy prayers, Shelli. The way you beg for life … you beg for others.
The phone rang today. “The results are benign.”
All that flip-flopping around for nothing. Pansy handshake. Faith over failure, Shelli. Not failed faith. How on earth will you survive when you get bad news? One day again, more than likely, you’ll receive bad news. That’s life. But it’s the how. You’ll survive on earth or in heaven because God has you covered. But it’s the how.
You’ve arrived because of Jesus. But you haven’t arrived. How will you survive? In the now? How? Will you trust? It’s not really for nothing when your flop flips to the In God We Trust side.
No more pansy, Shelli.
“I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand—I who set the heavens in place, ’” Isaiah 51:16
Thank you, Julie Garmon, for the reminder of this beautiful Scripture.