February 21, 2014
What to Expect When You’re NOT Expecting
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. (Isaiah 43:2a, NIV)
Friend to Friend
I was not expecting to hear what I heard. “You have a polyp on your right vocal cord and a nodule on your left vocal cord. In addition to that, Mrs. Smith, your esophagus is yellow and inflamed because of acid reflux. I know you sing and speak professionally, so I’m placing you on mandatory vocal rest for 4-6 weeks. You cannot talk at all. You will also need to adjust your diet and take medication in order to calm the acid reflux. If your condition doesn’t get better with rest, medication and dietary changes, you may need to have vocal cord surgery.”
He was not expecting to hear what he heard. “The biopsy and ultra sounds of your mass indicate that it is highly probable you have papillary thyroid cancer, Mr. Smith. We will need to schedule surgery to have it removed and if the final pathology reports are conclusive for cancer, as we strongly suspect, you will need to have a radioactive iodine treatment to ensure that all of the remaining cancerous cells are destroyed.”
Both of these conversations took place over the past several months. Neither my husband nor I were expecting to hear what we heard. And we were not expecting to go through what we are now going through.
“You cannot speak for 4-6 weeks.” “You have cancer.” “I want a divorce.” “Your position has been terminated.” “Your electricity has been shut off until you make a payment on your bill.” “You have not been accepted into our program.” “I’m sorry, there has been an accident…”Sometimes we come face to face with complicated matters that we simply are not expecting. Life can turn us upside down in a moment’s notice and leave us gasping for breath, grasping for strength, and searching for answers.
Have you been there? Are you or is someone you love there now?
Through the trials that both my husband and I are going through, the LORD has been teaching us lesson after lesson. So we thank Him for the treasures found in the darkness of this season. The Word of God is rich with treasures because it connects our hearts to God’s hope.
When we find ourselves with challenges that we were not expecting, there are a few things that we all can expect.
The Bible tells us that God will never leave us nor forsake us. But this does not mean that bad things won’t happen. And it also does not mean that we will never experience pain, disappointment, or devastation. It means that no matter what we face, God – Emmanuel – is always with us and His peace is always available… whether He chooses to deliver us from the trial,through the trial, or in the trial.
Here are a few truths and action points to cling to in difficult times:
GOD IS NEAR: “The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:5b-7)
GOD HEARS YOUR CRIES: “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:17-18)
GOD IS WITH YOU and FOR YOU: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned 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.” (Isaiah 43:1-3)
Yes; pain will sting you, bad things will happen, people will hurt you, and your heart will sometimes be burdened with heavy loads. BUT GOD offers to meet you in the messy thick of it. Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29)
How will you respond to His invitation? When you call on Jesus, you can expect to experience God’s peace even in the times you face challenges that you were not expecting.
Dear Lord, I admit that I sometimes fear the unexpected and do not fully trust in your perfect will. I know that you see the end from the beginning and that your thoughts are not my thoughts (Is. 55:8-9). Forgive me for my lack of faith and please teach me to trust in you so that when the unexpected storms of life come, I will expect peace in the midst of those storms (Mark 4:37-40), knowing that you are near, you hear my cries, and you are with me and for me.
In Jesus’ name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Read the following verse: "You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you." (Isaiah 26:3)
According to this verse, "perfect peace" comes from focusing our minds upon the Lord. What a promise that is! Find some verses about God's nature and His promises to you and write them in a journal or a special place where you can refer to them when life hits you with the unexpected. Use these verses to meditate on God through your trials to experience His peace!
More from the Girlfriends
Are you struggling to believe that you could ever experience God’s peace?Learn how He wants to bring you beyond your past heart-wounds and your present challenges to His wholeness, strength and beauty. Broken into Beautiful is a book filled with stories – real stories … gritty and honest, not cleaned up and phony. It’s also filled with Scripture that will inspire you toward the life-changing grace of Jesus. To order the book, go to Amazon or, for a signed copy, visit Gwen’s website.
Gwen’s website is filled with videos, posts, songs and resources that will be a deep well of encouragement to you. Visit: www.GwenSmith.net. (Get a FREE song download when you sign up for her newsletter!)
Click here to learn more about hosting a Girlfriends in God conference in your area or having one of the GiGs speak at your next women's event.
Originally published Friday, 21 February 2014.