That time had come again: another PET scan to assess the status of my husband’s cancer. In the span of a month, between the two of us, we had covered most radiological studies between his CT scan and PET scan, and my X-rays and MRI. I was scheduled for surgery the next day, with the unfortunate promise from the doctor that this would not offer a cure, but rather, only temporary relief, and it might not even help at all. Only time would tell.
This was not what I had envisioned for either of us.
Over the holiday season, we expected to joyfully participate in all the seasonal traditions and festivities. In my mind I pictured a Norman Rockwall painting with the perfect tree, perfectly wrapped presents, perfectly set and executed holiday meal. Nowhere in that picture was there doctor’s appointments, scans, physical therapy, surgery, or rehab. In fact, if I’m being honest, nowhere in that imagined painting did I picture pain, physical or otherwise.
If it were not for God’s promises, I don’t know how we would have made it through this year. Or would many of my friends, for that matter.
I know so many who are not experiencing the Norman Rockwall perfect holidays: some are walking through grief after the loss of a loved one. Some are caring for ill family members. Some are managing family discord and broken relationships. Some cannot be with family this holiday season because of time, distance, and even more devastating conditions like incarceration. Some are wondering where the finances will come from to enjoy any semblance of the holiday spirit.
Yet there is something about this time of year that lends hope in the midst of the darkness.
Perhaps it’s the return of my son, home from college for the holidays. But I’ve been thinking a great deal about Mary and what her experience must’ve been like. She didn’t experience that picture perfect setting either. She rode on a donkey to go pay their taxes while she was pregnant with Jesus. When she went into labor, no one would offer her a room until an inn-keeper took pity on her and offered for her to stay in his stable—the filthiest place you could think of to have a baby. Yet Scripture says she found favor with God.
“The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” (Luke 1:28)
This gives me so much encouragement because as Christ followers, we are ALL highly favored, and the Lord is with us ALL. It doesn’t matter what our circumstance is—God is with us in it.
I found Mary to be so relatable because, like many of us, Mary experienced some anxiety when the angel approached her:
“Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.” (Luke 1:29)
Yet next we read that like us, she had no reason to fear.
“But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid Mary; you have found favor with God.’” (Luke 1:30)
That is such comfort to my heart as well because since all of us Christ followers have found favor with God, we don’t need to be afraid despite what our circumstances look like.
Mary was assured that she didn’t face her trials alone:
“The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.” (Luke 1:30)
The same Holy Spirit dwells within each of us, and His power will overshadow us as well. We can trust Him to manage whatever we face, in His power.
The angel also assured Mary that she was blessed because of her faith in God:
“Blessed is she who has believed that God would fulfill His promises to her.” (Luke 1:45)
We, too, can experience that same blessing if we believe that God’s promises to us are true. That’s what enables us to look at our difficult circumstances, yet maintain our hope.
God is faithful. That is never the question. The bigger question is will we trust Him?
As I face my own hurdles in life, and as I pray for my friends who are experiencing their own trials, I remain confident in the goodness of the Lord and believe that I will not be disappointed because God will fulfill His promises.
Because of Him, #HopePrevails!
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Thank you ! Thank you, for sharing your own experience … That brings encouragement and inspiration, to us readers , as always ! From reading this post , as if you were seeing my heart, and talking to me … God bless !
I always appreciate your posts but today I took the time to watch the video. I’m so glad that I did. One little phrase, “your bank account”, resonated so clearly with me. I’ve been unemployed for almost two years…during which I have embarked on a journey of healing through the nightmare of ptsd. I’ve been wrestling with the matter of shrinking finances but your message spoke peace into my spirit. Thank you.
I’m so glad that my post and my experience could speak peace into your spirit. I know finances are a hard one to trust but I’m believing with you that God will supply all your needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus. I had a very dear friend in the same situation as you, and just recently work started coming in for her and her finances are more stable. I pray the same for you!
Thanks for taking the time to visit. I hope we’ll see you here again! #HopePrevails!
I’m humbled by your sweet words. Thank you for taking the time to visit my little blog, and let the Holy Spirit do what He does best by speaking into our hearts at just the right time. I hope you’ll visit again.
Bless you for your wonderful writings and for today’s message! Praying for your family as you trust the Lord and continue working through the challenges which you face.
I, like you dreamed of having a Norman Rockwell Christmas this year, but in reality our family didn’t even get to celebrate Christmas at all due to illnesses and other circumstances. This was the first time this has ever happened, so it was a huge disappointment.
Before Christmas I also thought a lot about how Mary must have felt being chosen to carry God’s son, Jesus. I imagined that she must have felt honored, but also inadequate.
Thank you for the reminder that God will always fulfill his promises even dhwhen the difficult times come our way. It reminded me of this song.
Standing on the promises of Christ my King,
Through eternal ages let His praises ring,
Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing,
Standing on the promises of God.
Standing on the promises of God my Savior;
I’m standing on the promises of God.
He is always close and one day our Christmases will be perfect.
So thankful for how you are sharing your journey in HOPE when things aren’t going perfect in your life. This gives me HOPE. Luke 1:45 is one of my life verses. Your neighbor today at Brenda’s place.
Love ya friend!
Will we trust Him? Yes, that is all we need! Clinging to Jesus in the storms of life is the most important action we can take.
Dear one, I pray for you every night, by name (and have been doing this since the onset of your husband’s cancer.) You, Dr. Michelle, are not alone> The Lord is with youl
.your blogs and book have brought me out of the bottom of despair INNUMERABLE times. Praise and thanks to GOD.
From a postcard:
Don’t Give Up!
GOD will make a way,
even if there is none.
Behold, I am God…
Is anything too hard for me?
The question is not whether God is faithful, but will we trust Him? Yes and Amen! Though often much harder to do, than just to say. I’ve read a lot about God’s faithfulness lately- it’s a welcomed reminder for me.
Thank you for sharing, and I do pray blessings AND favor over you and your hubby!
I’m thankful our favor with God doesn’t depend on our circumstances that are out of our control. Thanks for linking up at #PorchStories!
I like your observations about Mary, that she experienced anxiety like we do and that she was told not to be afraid. And the reason for her not to be afraid! That she had found favor with God, just as we have, by His grace! Wow!
He is faithful, but He definitely doesn’t always do things the way we expect (or even want)! Praying for you for 2018.