When…..Not If

A little more than eight years ago on a warm, summer day I, along with my family and many other people, participated in a prayer time that I had organized for a sweet little four-year old boy who was battling cancer. As we gathered on this family’s front lawn to call out to God for healing for this sweet baby, I could not have imagined that just a few years later on August 4, 2013, there would be close to 100 people surrounding MY house, praying on behalf of MY family, and crying out to God for healing for MY husband as he battles cancer.

Although most of the time trials, challenges, battles….whatever you want to call them…..catch us off guard, we should not be shocked when they come our way. God’s Word tells us that we WILL encounter these things in our life…not that we might, but we WILL. It’s not a matter of IF, but WHEN. Isaiah 43:2 says:

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.

We all have “hard stuff” in our lives at one time or another. Stuff that we think will never end. Stuff that we think we can’t possibly make it through. Stuff that makes us angry. Stuff that makes us sad. Stuff that makes us want to run away and hide. Stuff that makes us ask “Why???” Stuff that makes us doubt what we thought we believed. Stuff that breaks our hearts. Stuff that makes us just want to give up and call it quits! We all have “stuff.” I’m sure you’ve all heard it said that all of us are in one of three places in our lives….either we are right in the middle of a battle, we have just come out of a battle, or we are about to be taken into a battle.

I am seeing more and more how very true this is. As I looked around and thought about all of the people that came out to pray for our family on Aug. 4, I was reminded of all the battles that many of these people had fought/endured in their past. Standing in my yard that day were people who had gone through divorce. There were people that had struggled with infertility. There were people who had buried a child….from tiny babies to teenagers. There were people that had personally fought addictions or were family members of someone who had fought addictions. There were families that had dealt with separations due to deployments. There were people that had dealt with rebellious children and were heart-broken as they watched their children make unwise choices. There were people that had battled different types of cancer.

Also, as I looked around that day, I saw people that were currently in the middle of their own battle….but still took the time to come and pray for us. There was a family in which two of the three sons has muscular dystrophy. There were families that are dealing with rebellious children. There was a family that had just buried their husband/father only weeks before. He was the same age as Greg. There were several people waiting on tests/results to see if they too, have cancer. There was a family in which the daughter suffers from frequent seizures. There were families in which there is marital strife. There were families where siblings are not speaking to one another.

And then, there were the families that didn’t realize the battle that they would soon be facing. Just since this time of prayer, less than a month ago…one family got the news that the mom has stage 3 ovarian cancer, one family got the news that the mom has probable stage 1 breast cancer and one lady was in a bad car accident.

All of these things represent JUST the things I know about and involve JUST the people that were gathered at my house on Aug. 4. Pretty good proof that Is. 43:2 speaks truth, when it says that all of us WILL go through these times. So you might think that this Scripture is bad news, and I guess it kind of is. But…the Lord doesn’t leave it there, He gives us good news to go with it.

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
.

Whatever challenges we face in life, God promises us that we don’t have to face them alone. He will be with us! THAT is good news! We don’t get to choose whether or not we’ll have battles in our lives, nor do we get to choose which battles will come our way. But we do get to choose how we will respond to the battles that we find ourselves in. We can choose to get angry and bitter at God, or we can choose to cling to God and accept His plan for our life knowing that everything that He allows to come our way is for our good and His glory. We can gripe and complain and say that things are not fair, or we can choose to find joy in our circumstances and count the many ways that God blesses and provides for us every day of the battle. This is not always easy and I certainly don’t get it right all the time. I’ve found that it’s a day by day, oftentimes minute by minute choice. But I do know that when I walk around in defeat and despair, I am choosing to give glory to satan….and I REFUSE to do that!

Your battle may not be stage 4 melanoma, or being the spouse or child of someone who has stage 4 melanoma, and it may not be one of the other things I mentioned above. But we can all be assured that if we aren’t currently in a battle, one is probably just around the corner. The good news is that, as believers, we have Jesus Christ on our side, and because of that we WILL be the victors!!

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. James 1:2-3

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33

Trusting His Plan,
Greg, Sandra, Katie, Emilie and Jacob

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18 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Bethany Johnson
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 22:29:24

    Thank you! God’s grace over you, in you, and through you is amazing!! Love,

    Bethany Johnson Sent from my iPhone

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  2. Linda Sewell
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 22:35:11

    Thank you, Sandra. That is truly an encouraging word for me as my husband and I are both facing some health issues. You are a blessing to me and others as God shines through your life and your words.

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  3. Elise Kilgore
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 22:35:47

    Beautiful… just beautiful… praying for you and the others mentioned… Thanking God for His Grace to get us all through… and for the fact that we don’t live for this present world, but for the amazing one to come. Love you all.

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  4. Laura
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 22:43:16

    Love this. Love you all.

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  5. Julie Alain
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 22:45:55

    Beautiful Sandra! Thank you for sharing your heart and praising Him with your life. We are the victors because He has given us so much! “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” Eph 1:3

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  6. john@onesourcegc.com
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 22:59:03

    Amen and amen…these words are straight from the heart of God and will be used to encourage and sustain hundreds and thousands of people…God is doing a mighty work in and through you and Greg and the kids. Love you all so much!

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  7. Susan
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 23:01:41

    Sandra, your posts always bring me to tears! I frequently get discouraged with “life”, yet you help bring perspective. The Lord is good – always. Thank you for sharing! Susan

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  8. rhondaboyle
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 23:05:27

    You have a beautiful witness! ❤

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  9. Lori Walker
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 23:06:37

    Amen and thank you. Much love to all of you.

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  10. Teri mccurry
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 23:11:14

    As I read this, tears fill my eyes and i know these truths are for Gods people! I claim them and I also lift my hands to a God who has promised to be with me through it all. God bless you and your family and all those who read this and are fighting battles of their own. God is in control! He has not left His people!

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  11. Gina Ramsey
    Aug 22, 2013 @ 23:33:28

    Thank you Sandra….for your beautiful spirit, your faith, and your strength that you share with everyone who knows you.

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  12. Dennis Pitts
    Aug 23, 2013 @ 07:27:00

    Sandra, thanks for sharing, this is so true……..Lisa and I are sooooooo thankful we met you guys. I know it’s been the worst times in our lives but you and Greg have been such an inspiration for us and helped us so much in getting through this. We pray everyday for Greg, you and your entire family that God will watch over you all.
    We especially pray that Greg will soon be healed!!!!!
    Love and miss ya’ll!!
    Dennis

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  13. Karla Lail
    Aug 23, 2013 @ 08:56:23

    Thanks for sharing! It reminds me that each day is a gift from God and to live it fully devoted to Him, giving thanks for all things. I have learned so much just reading your posts and praying for your family. You are precious!

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  14. Dorcas
    Aug 23, 2013 @ 11:18:26

    So true…your posts are so very encouraging and honest. Blessings to you and your family.

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  15. Mary Beth
    Aug 23, 2013 @ 20:41:52

    Thank you!

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    Reply

  16. celeste
    Aug 23, 2013 @ 23:21:19

    Amen. Psalm 34:19 – MANY are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him from them all. All of us suffer, at one time or another, and that’s why it’s so crucial that we support one another. 11 Cor. 1:3, 4 describes to a tee your posts. Thanks for sharing the struggles and the real life and the comfort from God.

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  17. Cherie Maurer
    Aug 24, 2013 @ 13:17:08

    You are such an encouragement to me and to so many others!!! I hope that this blog is documented…your posts would make a good book!! I love you much!

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    Reply

  18. leakforjoy
    Aug 24, 2013 @ 18:49:22

    A powerful call to courage from a humble, yet mighty warrior is a gift to us all. Thank you. Your strength in the storm is a beautiful reflection of Him. (Psalm 139:5) His hand is on you.

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