Present Grace (A Meditation, Looking Back at Breast Cancer)

18 Aug

Psalm 46:1:  God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

I had breast cancer almost four years ago.  This year seems to be the year to start writing about the lessons God taught me then.  When I stand in the choir and look out over our congregation, I see at least three people awaiting major surgeries, one recovering from a deadly accident, and two recovering from a transplant (one of them was the donor).

They are in the process of learning what I learned four years ago, that Psalm 46:1 really, really works!  I was amazed at God’s resources of strength and grace in my need.  I feared chemotherapy more than I feared the surgery and radiation I also had that year.  In fact, I pleaded with God to not have me walk down the path of chemotherapy but He, in His sovereignty, chose differently than I would have done.

The really wonderful thing is I learned why it is called “present grace” (“present help”) and not “past grace” or “future grace.”  I didn’t have the ability to cope with chemotherapy in advance of the treatments and I don’t have it now.  But I was given the grace to cope quite successfully with the chemotherapy just for the five months I was going through it.  Not one day more, nor one day less.  Isn’t that amazing?

God makes it quite clear in Scripture that we are to live in the moment we are in, not spending an inordinate amount of time regretting our past and not dreaming about nor dreading our future.  When we start learning the discipline of “casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (II Corinthians 10:5), we discover how wonderfully adequate our God is to the moment we are in right now. 

My friend Mary Hager told me years ago, “God never promised to give us grace to cope with our imaginations, just grace to cope with our realities.”  Wish I could say I now have a spotless record of living in the moment with God, but that hasn’t yet happened.  I do know that, despite my unfaithfulness, He remains faithful.  Praise His Name!    

     

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