When I was first diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in January 2011, my world was forever changed. I had just settled in with some wonderful flat mates, my course at university was challenging but I was getting through the assignments with much success, my course mates were legendary, I lived independently for the first time and in a beautiful part of the country and I had made some lifelong friendships. I had a church and a Christian Union I was part of. Everything was going my way. I felt happy for the first time in a long time. Or so I thought.
In the film ‘Bruce Almighty’, I can think of one of my favourite scenes. Jim Carrey plays Bruce Nolan who has been given all of God’s powers. When people begin to pray, Bruce transfers all their requests to ’email’. There are just so many prayers that Bruce can’t keep up, so he answers ‘yes’ to everyone’s prayers. ‘Yes to all. Now everybody’s happy.’
The following day some people have been made rich, although lots of people that won the lottery didn’t win much (think how many people probably pray to win the lottery!). But there was also widespread chaos and disaster due to strange lunar activity as Bruce pulled the moon closer for his night of romance with his girlfriend, and many people were starting riots and causing damage. Bruce then cried out to God and said ‘There were so many [prayers]. I just gave them all what they wanted.” Then the legend that is Morgan Freeman who plays God says, “Yeah. But since when does anyone have a clue about what they want.”
I think this is such an awesome scene. And so true. We all think we know what we want. We have our lives, we want to live it to the full, we know what’s best for us. But sometimes, we cannot see the bigger picture. We cannot understand God’s ways, for they are not our ways. My mum always said to me that we are only given a piece of the jigsaw puzzle, but God can see the whole picture. I have to admit, me getting cancer wasn’t something I had planned in my new wonderful life. Nor, do I fully understand why God permitted this and maybe I will never know. However, instead of just thinking, ‘Oh woe is me, poor me, why me, why not that woman that called me fat, or the group that teased me in high school? Why not that murderer in the paper? Why is there so much injustice? It’s not fair’, I have decided to stay positive but stay in the peace of God and trust in Him no matter how dismal my circumstances appear to the natural world.
The peace of God
The Bible says in Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” This is so awesome as it basically states that God’s peace will go beyond the limits of all understanding (so even though my circumstances look bad to me and you, I can still have the peace of God no matter what), and that my heart and mind can stay focused on Him through it all.
This great verse in Philippians was with me on my travels around the USA on a gap year. It really spoke to me as it started: (chapter 4 verse 6) “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” So reading this, being across the pond on another continent and on my own, I then experienced the peace of God on my travels. This verse is pretty straightforward. If I pray to God, telling him what’s on my mind and ask him for courage, strength, peace etc. and thank Him for all the good stuff, I have shared with God what it is I am seeking. Then verse 7 says, peace that is past understanding will be granted to me. I can tell you that was a great comforter knowing I had all that peace at my disposal when I was abroad last year!
An unchanging God
Isn’t it funny that this verse helped me in America last year because I was feeling anxious about being on my own, meeting new people and travelling in a strange place… but then a year on, a whole new problem… me getting CANCER and yet, this same verse is still as true as ever. God and the Word of God does not change, even though I change and my circumstances are continuously changing. I encourage all of you to seek out God. Tell Him your hurts, ask Him for what you want and thank Him for what you have. Don’t be angry and throw a tantrum if you don’t see immediate results. Just experience His peace whilst waiting for that jigsaw puzzle. Don’t be surprised if something happens that you don’t understand or maybe it doesn’t go your way at all.
I have to stress, I am NOT God 😀 I DO NOT have all the answers. However, rest assured I am walking the walk with Jesus and I can tell you… He has the plan… so enjoy the journey, no matter what the circumstances! Easier said than done, you might say… well let me encourage you at least through those hard times and do a dance and boogie when things are going in a better direction for you!
My prayer: Lord, thanks for being so awesome and guiding me when times get hard. You’ve seen it all. Yesterday, today and forever, you are the same and you never change. Nothing surprises you. Thank you for giving us the freedom to make our own choices, but gently guiding us when we make mistakes. Thank you for loving us abundantly even though we constantly moan and groan about our everyday lives! And thank you for LIFE. A wonderful gift! I ask Lord that whoever reads my blog will be blessed and encouraged from my experiences and input. That somehow they may take heart and smile with me as I share stories and words of encouragement with them. I pray over all of my friends, that they may see the blessings you pour out on me and I ask that you may show your love through me and through their circumstances and they may come to know You and the goodness of your character. This I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.
Take care and God bless!