It’s 2 AM, your 3-month-old baby is crying, and you don’t know why. He’s not hot, not cold, not hungry, not wet and he is definitely not happy. You’ve tried rocking, walking, feeding, singing, swaying and of course begging, and nothing has worked. As you stare at the crying bundle of unhappiness, you begin to wonder if he will ever stop crying. Surely this crying session will stop before he graduates from high school? Maybe not….
By now you are convinced that the problem is you. You’re positive you are a lousy parent and the child is doomed to have to grow up under your incompetence. Your exhaustion, anxiety and depression from your inability to stop the crying has made you a basket case. Beyond the sound of relentless crying, you realize that solving this problem is completely beyond your control. You’re way past your wit’s end, when suddenly your precious baby falls asleep. There is no particular reason to explain how, when or why. This is when you know that there is nothing on the planet like a crying infant to make you realize you are not in control.
These moments of truth in my life when I KNOW that God is in control and not I, are much too fleeting. Sometimes it seems like the bigger the problem, the more panic I feel and the more determined I become to fix the problem ASAP. There is this temptation for me to take on these monster problems myself. So I wholeheartedly dive into the realm of, “Try this.” “Stop that.” “Do more.” “Do less.” And of course, “Try it again.” The problem is that these thoughts or activities tend to leave me with the false impression that I really am in charge. Now, THAT’s a problem.
Believing that we have influence in areas that only God has influence can create a bunch of ugly results. Here are a few that I have specialized in over the years:
- Blaming– “I must find the reason this happened so I can prevent anything bad ever happening again.”
- Anger– ”Things like this are not supposed to happen. It’s not right.”
- Guilt– “This bad thing must have happened because of me. If it’s my fault, I can feel powerful in a weird kind of way.”
- Boasting– “This bad thing may have happened, but I have taken all the right steps to fix it, so it has no power over me anymore.”
- Denial– “This problem is too big for me, or for God, so I’m going to pretend it’s not happening.”
Look at this list: blaming, anger, guilt, boasting and denial. Each of these are ways to trick ourselves into feeling in control of the uncontrollable. They do not help anyone, including yourself, but do you know what’s worse? They pull you further from God at a time in your life when you desperately need to be leaning completely into His loving arms.
Cancer is definitely a monster problem. A cancer diagnosis brings LOTS of things for you to do, and you should absolutely do them, but try to remember this: Cancer is not about what you can do, but about what God has done.
Try not to spend your days waiting for God to do something. He has already done it. He claimed you on the cross. Listen here to how he cares for you.
For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ’Do not fear; I will help you.’ Isaiah 41:13
The Lord your God has taken hold of your hand and is helping you. Do not fear.