Cancer Journey · Great Lakes Living · Sabbatical

After Surviving

“And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying,

‘This is the way, walk in it.’”

Isaiah 30:21a

          How do you live after only surviving? During an exceptionally trying time in my friend’s life, I asked her how she was holding up. “Surviving,” she had said, but this wasn’t a way she wanted to (or could) live for long. When you are in survival mode, you live life one moment at a time. And it is exhausting. You put one foot in front of the other almost mechanically, just going through the motions. For the believer, you do not walk this path alone. The Lord spoke in Isaiah saying, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through the fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you” (43:2). In the painful chaos, God’s grace is sufficient. And after the fire? What then?

In a previous post, I wrote about how these past twelve months felt like riding an out-of-control train. It abruptly stopped a few weeks ago and dropped us off back where we started. The location is the same and the surroundings vaguely familiar, but everything is somehow different. Cancer has forever changed our lives. And I feel stuck—like I can see and feel, but I can’t move. I can still hear the train just behind me, rushing past in all its furry—so close that I feel as though I can reach out my hand, touch it and be gone again. My family seems to be adjusting and for better or worse, falling back into the routine of life, but I feel frozen. I’m standing at the foot of some great, glorious mountain but I can’t look up. I keep seeing the valley behind me.

The other day, as I was reading a familiar passage, my eyes drifted further down the page and fell across these words:

Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you,

and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.

For the LORD is a God of justice;

blessed are those who wait for him.

And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.

Isaiah 30:18-21

I have been stewing on those words all week. Though the Lord give you the bread of adversity . . . He will not hide himself anymore . . . Your ears shall hear a word behind you . . . This is the way, walk in it. I have been straining to hear His voice above the roar of the war that wages in me. Tell me, Lord. Where do I go from here?

This morning, I sat on the North Pier just beyond the lighthouse looking out over Lake Erie. The day dawned and the clouds became a lighter shade of gray.   I never saw the sun, but I knew it was there. It had risen just as it had the day before and will again tomorrow. God’s grace is kind of like that. Even when the darkness weighs heavy on my soul, I know His grace is there, working in my life

lighthouse

When Darkness seems to hide His face

I rest on His unchanging grace

In every high and stormy gale

My anchor holds within the veil

Hillsong “Cornerstone”

          Take another look at those verses from Isaiah 30. This is the way, walk in it. While studying and writing, I followed the cross references in my Bible like a treasure hunter seeking gold. In another time, David wrote, “Show me the right path, O LORD; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you” (Psalm 25:4-5 NLT). Yes, Lord, show me the right path. I will wait right here. Show me. So, I am waiting, and it feels like standing on broken glass. I wish I knew how and where to move because waiting is painful. But I can look back on His faithfulness in my life and know that He has never left me in the dark places. He will rescue me because He delights in me (see Psalm 18:19), and He will take all things in my life and work them out for good (see Romans 8:28). “For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him” (Isaiah 30:18b).

All the way my Savior leads me,

What have I to ask beside?

Can I doubt His tender mercy,

Who through life has been my Guide?

Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort,

Here by faith in Him to dwell!

For I know, whate’er befall me,

Jesus doeth all things well.

Frances J. Crosby “All the Way My Savior Leads Me”

January 9, 2016

Cheddars

Playlist: CCM Mix

 

 

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