Pray without ceasing--I'm learning what that means this week:
My friend and renowned author Carolyn Custis James's diagnosis of stage 1 lung cancer and her surgery today.
My friend and long-time Bible teacher Shirley Hotchkiss's miserable bout with brain cancer causing such severe nausea that she ended up in the hospital this week.
An unnamed friend who lost a promising ministry opportunity because someone snuck in and sabotaged the hiring process this week.
Oh, Lord, I'm reeling from a bad news tidal wave week and I want it to stop.
But I can't make it stop. All I can do is lift up these dear women to you, Lord, and ask you to comfort them and their loved ones, as we all attempt to navigate this oh-so-fallen world. Usually I'm upbeat and positive. And I'll get there. But right now I just want to cry.
Our sin-sick world, ravaged by Satan and his dark emissaries, gets the best of me occasionally and this is one of those times. So I take my sadness to Jesus and wait. He has always been faithful to redirect my heart and eyes to Him, and I trust He will do that again.
I look out my window at the robust green leaves on the trees that surround our home. Several weeks ago, the view from my window pictured only grey skeleton bark and branches, but now, miraculously, the landscape is bursting forth with life. I've planted my patio pots with color, baskets that sway in the wind, full of spring's promise.
I go to the Word. Isaiah 43:1-3 assures me:
Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I pray these words over my friends. My soul rejoices that He loves them with a deep everlasting hesed kind of love and He promises to be with them.
I alert other Christians to pray, as we come together in God's universal family of faith. I pray my friends will sense our heart-felt support and be undergirded with a supernatural peace. My thoughts are strangely drawn to God's promise in Romans 8:37:
No, in all these things, my friends are more than conquerors, through Him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate Carolyn, and Shirley, and my unnamed friend, or any of us, from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
A peace sweeps over my soul as I ponder these promises and gaze at the awakened earth. My friends know God. My friends have all they need for this journey. I'm grateful. Thank you, Lord, that Carolyn's cancer was detected so early, that Shirley has wonderful support from family and friends, and that my unnamed friend trusts you for the next door. I can rest in Your provisions for them. But I'll keep praying without ceasing, as we all learn, really learn, what it means to walk in Christ, even through the valleys. A beautiful Sonrise awaits us on the other side of the mountain, where an eternal spring promises to break through. Oh, the joy in Jesus!