Looking back, I’m pretty sure my recent walk through breast cancer could have gone a little smoother. My diagnosis could have been less serious, my treatment less severe, my surgeries less painful and my recovery less eventful. Fortunately for me, they weren’t.
My God is a big God. Powerful. Invincible even. Nothing’s too difficult, too messy or too scary for Him. The Creator of this universe could have easily swept away the deadly tumors that had taken root in my body. He could have changed my test results, eliminating the need for a radical bilateral mastectomy. He could have simplified the reconstruction phase, blocking the complications that followed. Better yet, He could have stopped those destructive little cells from starting in the first place. Ahh, the quick fix. The easier, simpler, less bumpy way. No worry, no stress. No pain or tears or fear. But then I remember that my big, powerful, invincible God is also the God of higher ways, and thankfully He had something else in mind entirely.
If I skipped my cancer I would have missed a better perspective. Shortly after getting diagnosed my life was quickly organized into two distinct columns: Things that Matter and Things that Don’t. After years of worrying about the little things (Why did I say that? What did she mean by that? What will they think of me?), I suddenly recognized the small stuff as a gigantic waste of time. My cancer forced me to disregard the petty side of life and keep a sharp focus on who and what I love most in this world.
If I skipped my cancer I would have missed richer relationships. One of the worst parts of getting sick was my family’s sadness. From that sorrow, however, grew a deeper sense of gratitude for what we had, for however long we could have it. Stripped of my pride and more vulnerable than ever, I was also blessed by the women in my life as they met me head-on with their own openness. It is a privilege to know the intimacy that comes with raw honesty in our friendships.
If I skipped my cancer I would have missed the miracle. If I hadn’t experienced a time of brokenness in my recovery, I would never have known the sheer delight that comes with healing. If I hadn’t woken up in pain, I wouldn’t be able to recognize the wonder of ordinary. As the Lord slowly strengthened me, I knew that only the mighty God who created this body could restore it so steadily. Even now, feeling fine has never seemed quite so remarkable.
At times I’m still tempted to think of God as some great cosmic Magician as I ask Him to wave an invisible wand over my hardships and make them simply disappear. We could. And He might. But getting our way definitely means missing His. I’m grateful that my big, powerful, mighty God loves me enough to share His higher ways with me, wherever they lead. And truthfully, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Are you facing something now that you need to place in the hands of a trustworthy God? His higher ways will not let you down. If you’d like to share, I’d love to listen.