Devotion #1: Jesus is More Than You Expected
from Celebrating Christmas in Your Cancer Journey by Karen Tripp
When the doctor says “it’s cancer”, your mind does not wait for the doctor to explain what cancer is, because your mind already knows. Whether through TV, movies, news reports or
experiences with loved ones, it’s difficult to live in the world and not have our minds develop a picture of cancer.
As we start cancer treatment we discover that some of this picture may be right on target, while other aspects are a complete surprise. Maybe you expected to be tired, but not so tired that you can’t lift you head. Maybe you knew that there would be lots of waiting rooms, but not the abundance of time waiting to see if the treatment is working. Maybe you knew some people would avoid you, but not this friend or that family member.
Cancer can turn out to be more than you expected, but fortunately, so does Jesus.
To understand this, let’s begin by looking at some scripture from the Christmas story.
Looking at the scripture, answer the questions below.
The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel (which means God with us). Matthew 1:23
1. What will they call the son?
2. What does this mean?
I LOVE the name Immanuel! If I was to boil down the true meaning of Christmas into one word, it would be Immanuel = God with us. When the Immanuel, the Christ Child, came to
Earth, everything changed.
Before the first Christmas, God was around us. He was around us in His creation, in the Ark of the Covenant, in His temple, in His scripture and He was around us through His relationship with His people, the Israelites. It was like the people of the earth came to know God by thinking, “Wow! There He is! That’s the Lord God Almighty!!”
On that first Christmas, things changed. People could still see God around them, just as we
can today. “I see God in the sunset, the birth of my child, the wonder He did in my friend’s
life or the truth I read in His scriptures.” This is priceless, but when the Christ Child came to Earth, we were given the gift of Immanuel- God with us. What does this mean?
As the Christ Child, God became human and came to Earth to remove the barrier between
Him and the people of the earth who God desperately loves. To be in God’s presence,
to be unified with God, to have God’s spirit within you, you need to be perfect. You may be
thinking- “Oh well! Being with God sounded like a good thing, but I guess since I am
obviously imperfect, I’m not supposed to be ‘with God.’” But wait- there’s more!!
The Christ Child grew up living a perfect life and was sacrificed on the cross so that you may be made perfect. This is not just about being with God for eternity, but about being able to live a life now of not just seeing God around you, but knowing God is “with you.” Jesus took away the barrier between us and God so that we no longer need to remain spectators of God’s mighty ways. We can now be unified with God as He is with us and within us.
The crazy part is that though your struggles, you can come to see more clearly just how much God is with you. So, just as your understanding of your struggle with cancer grows, your understanding of “God with us” will also grow. Why? Because God is always with you more than you can possibly imagine, but in times of struggle, you become better at seeing Him by your side.
The more we need God with us, the more we SEE God is with us.
Place an X next to all that you connect with:
“God, I knew you were with me through this cancer when …
___ You led me to a wonderful doctor.”
___ You strengthened my marriage.”
___ You drew me closer to my family.”
___ You guided me to the right treatment.”
___ You stayed with me when I was alone.”
___ You pulled me closer to you when others turned away.”
___ You reassured me that things will be all right.”
___ You pushed back the fear and the worry.”
___ You held my hand through radiation.”
___ You mended me when I felt broken.”
___ You knew the true condition of my heart.”
___ You gave me peace at difficult times.”
Perhaps looking for how God is with you sounds like a good idea, but you’re thinking, “Now? While I’m struggling with cancer? And trying to figure out Christmas? I think I have enough on my mind.”
Well then, let me give you a BIG benefit of looking for how God is with you: The more you can stay focused on God, the bigger you will see God and the smaller you will see cancer. Let’s say this one again:
The more you can stay focused on God, the bigger you will see God and the smaller you will see cancer.
And that is the BEST Christmas gift ever!
Thank You for being with me, especially through my struggles. Help me remember that
You are always with me, even on the hard days of cancer. Please reach out to those I love and give them the comfort of knowing You are near as they deal with this cancer struggle, too. You truly are God with us.