This post is a long time coming and it is my desire that it will encourage someone who is suffering in silence. It will also help people to see that the strength that has come out in my posts is a true gift of God that has grown in the midst of darkness and betrayal.
While I have been struggling with cancer, I have also been dealing with several types of persecution that started a year before I discovered the lump that initiated my fight against cancer. The thing that took me by surprise was that the persecution and betrayal would come from those who called themselves Christians.
There are times that I wondered how much I could bear, especially when I was handed so many problems at once. There is a saying that God only gives you what you can bear, but I have come to understand that this is not true. God often will give you more than you can bear on your own, because it is in those times, that He wants you to run to Him for the strength that you do not have. He alone has the strength to bear all things. We on our own will fail unless we are able to acknowledge our need. Then and only then can we be in Christ’s strength and bear all thing.
The first betrayal came from someone who should have been there for me. This person had promised their support. The person was one whom I had supported financially, physically, emotionally and spiritually for many, many years. It was an issue of jealousy and that jealousy turned into unfair and unfounded slander. The person wanted no answers to their outrageous accusations because they didn’t want the truth. One of the saddest positions to be in, is to be purposely blind because that is what feels comfortable to you. Unfortunately, the wilfully blind person cannot be fixed. While I was still reeling from the surprise attack by my Frenemy, my Brother-in-law passed away suddenly from an aneurysm in February of 2013 and my beloved Mother-in-law died on April 1, 2013. By May 2013, my pastor stopped talking to me for five weeks and I found the lump that sent me to the doctor with the suspicion of cancer. I should note that my pastor had been my husband’s and my own best friend! During the time that he had stopped talking to me, I sent him a text asking him to pray for our son. Our youngest son was extremely ill last year, and we did not know if he was going to make it. It didn’t look good, and he was very, very sick. My pastor would not even respond to my text asking him to pray. All of this along with the shunning was definitely more than I could take.
The issue with my pastor took some time to figure out because his actions were confusing to me. The year before he had told my husband and me about a solemn promise that he had made to God. He said that he had cried on his knees before the Lord because he did not want to do what God was telling him to do, but in the end, he made his vow to do what God required of him, even if it cost him his job. We believed him and never thought he would go against that vow to God. But when he went down a road that was opposite to the promise he made to God, he started to shun me. It appears that my support of his original decision and my encouragement for him to follow through with his promise was too much for him at the time when he had already decided to run in the opposite direction. So for five weeks my own pastor stopped talking to me, and since that time, he will say hello and he will shake my hand at church occasionally, but he has shunned me for close to a year giving me no support at all during the entire time that I have been fighting cancer. He won’t even come to my house to have a conversation with me at my request. As far as pastoral support, I have none. None, that is, from my own pastor. I am so blessed that God has provided me with men and women who have a pastor’s heart and who have encouraged me and loved me through the dark times when I did not know if I was going to survive chemotherapy or not. God has allowed me to feel loved by many people who have been an amazing encouragement to me.
When, no if, the dark times come
When the dark times come, God does not always let you know what is ahead or when or even if there will be light at the end of the tunnel. It is in these dark times that one must run to God. It is a good time to focus on the character of God, His goodness, and His trustworthiness because knowing that He deeply loves you can be the only thing you have to hold onto. It is the true reality and the thing that will survive the darkness. The difficult times in life are only here for a relatively short time. This life is so short in comparison to eternity. Friends and pastors may fail you, but God will never fail. Do not ever let the fact that a Christian has failed you be the thing that separates you from God. People are sinners and even those who call themselves Christians, but who do not live up to that commitment, will fall into sin. But God cannot sin, and He cannot be unfaithful. If you run to Him when everyone else has failed you, He will not fail.
So this is the story that I have never publicly told about the other side of the strength that I have shown. At a time when I could not take anymore bad things happening, and when I could not take anymore unfair persecution, I ran to God instead of running away from Him. He did not fail me. He gave me enough to cover my fears and my disappointments, and He has kept me strong through it all. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. Nothing that is….unless we turn our back and run away from Him and treat Him as our enemy instead of our friend. My testimony is that God is my Friend. He has never lied to me or gossiped about me or shunned me in fear and anger. He is everything in this life to live for and for eternity.
Praise in the Storm
A dear friend sent me this song during one of my dark times. Here is a link to the youtube version of Praise You in the Storm. Please click the link and be blessed like I was to receive it. Praise You in This Storm