On this journey called "Life", we will encounter many twists and turns along the way. Sometimes when we seem to be able to clearly see our goal straight ahead, the path we are on suddenly turns sharply to the right or to the left. A detour! We don't like detours, especially when the point we want to get to is straight ahead... and we're not going straight ahead!
To make matters even worse, sometimes the path does a hairpin turn. Wait a minute. Now you're going back the way you came! At least... it seems that way from your point of view. Remember, our view is limited. We don't see what God sees.
When I think about hairpin curves or "setbacks", I am reminded of something I said to my oncologist back when I was in chemo treatment. Physically, chemo was the hardest thing I have ever gone through. My treatment was "dose-dense" meaning that instead of three weeks to recover from my chemo infusions, which is standard for most breast cancer patients, I had an infusion every two weeks. Just as I felt like I was getting back up on my feet once again, I got knocked back down by another chemo infusion. Sigh...
Have you ever felt like that? You get knocked down, you get back up again? You've been persevering and persevering and you suddenly reach a a hairpin turn and seem to be losing all of the ground you have gained? I have!
I remembering mentioning my "setbacks" to my oncologist one morning as I prepared for yet another infusion of "poison". I have never forgotten his response and wrote about it in a blog when I got home later that day as I braced myself for the physical onslaught which I knew would descend in less than 48 hours.
A portion of that blog reads:
As I was going out, I happened to mention that it is hard to have setbacks. My oncologist looked at me for a moment. "I mean, I'll feel terrible and then I start to gradually feel more like myself. Just as I feel like I'm starting to get back to normal, I have to come in for chemo and start all over again."
He took me by the hand and said "I know it seems like you're having setbacks but to me you're not. Everything that is happening to you is because of something I have done to you. It may seem like setbacks to you but I see you as moving forward."
I got to thinking about what my oncologist said and how that relates to me as a Christian. So often I cry out to God when I feel like I am having setbacks. I don't understand why certain things are happening. Yes, some of them are of my own doing but I am not talking about those. I'm talking about the lost job, the sick child, the suffering you encounter because you did the right thing, the unbelieving spouse or family who tries to make your life miserable, friends who turn on you, etc. These things cause us pain and discomfort. We don't like being in these places and we can't understand why we have to be.
That's when we have to remember that our lives belong to God. If I can trust a human doctor enough to allow him to put poison in my body and trust him when he says good will come out of it, I surely need to trust God enough to let him do whatever he wishes to do with me. I need to believe that he only has my best interests at heart and everything will come out all right in the end. He has complete control of us. We don't have to understand everything. We just need to trust him.
Are you willing to trust Him... no matter what?
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love.
No power in the sky above or in the earth below indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39 (NLT)
You O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. Psalm 18:28