God has been teaching me a lot over the past year about his faithfulness to our family during trials. Ben and I would often talk about how in our lives we hadn’t experienced very many trials. We often wondered how we would respond if we ever had to deal with a big trial. One thing I’ve learned about myself is through trials over the past year, it’s easy for me to recognize God’s care and love when things are good and blessings abound. But when trials hit, I find myself believing that God isn’t loving or caring.
Back in October of last year, when Lottie was one month old, we experience what I would call our first real trial. Lottie had to have surgery for pyloric stenosis. The short definition: the pyloric muscle becomes enlarged and doesn’t allow food to pass from the stomach to the intestines. Ben and I both felt upheld by lots of prayer during that time and for that we are extremely thankful. But if I’m to be completely honest, I have to say I didn’t really feel myself leaning on the Lord as much as I found myself leaning on other people’s prayer. I was so tired, I felt too weak to pray. However, God was still so gracious to me in giving peace that surpassed understanding through that trying week. Looking back, I really, truly believe that He was holding me. Also, He showed me that my daughter isn’t really mine to keep. The visual image I had in my mind during this time, was holding my daughter with open palms and not trying to cling to her. I remember sitting on my bed looking out the window crying and holding my hand open surrendering my daughter to her Heavenly Father. We are so thankful that the Lord has allowed us to keep her a little longer.
In May, I had my faith tested again. This time in a much greater way. Ben was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Fears just started taking hold in my mind. I was so afraid that God was punishing me for loving Ben more than Him. I was so afraid of losing Ben. The thought of being alone was too much. I was afraid we wouldn’t be able to have more children. I felt angry at God for putting us through this and I wondered how this could be from a loving and kind God. I firmly believed God was in complete control, I just questioned his motives. His promises in scripture just seem like they were mocking me.
Providentially, Ben and I had started memorizing scripture about a month. We were memorizing Lamentations 3:31-33 the week this all started to unfold.
31 For the Lord will not
cast off forever,
32 but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion
according to the abundance of his steadfast love;
33 for he does not afflict from his heart
or grieve the children of men.
I found these verses really hard to memorize because I felt like they were trying to remind me of who God is. He causes grief for our good, because he loves us. I didn’t want that to be true. I wanted to believe God never caused grief and only gave blessings.
Another verse that we had just finished memorizing the week before was Lamentation 3:21-26
21 But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;[b]
his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.
26 It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
The verses that really spoke to me in this passage where verses 25 and 26. “The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord” I didn’t want to seek Him. I wanted to run, hide and feel sorry for myself. I didn’t want to wait quietly, I wanted to complain and not see His faithfulness though the trial. I just didn’t want there to be a trial… I’m thankful the Lord didn’t cast me off during this painful growing experience. He used Ben to remind me of His faithfulness and kindness in the little and big things. There were so many ways we did experience his faithfulness and once I realized I was choosing not to see them, my eyes were opened.
Once I chose to see God as he truly is, it become easier to see His faithfulness. It was a blessing that Ben’s cancer was testicular cancer, as it has a 95% cure rate. It was a blessing that we caught it early. It was a blessing that we had a doctor friend who was able look at the scans before we saw the urologist and he was able to prepare us for the news ahead of time. It was a blessing because it shouldn’t affect our ability to have more children. It was a blessing because it reminded me of the frailness of life and what is really important. It was a blessing because it helped me cherish precious moments with Ben so much more. It was a blessing because it convicted me of pride. It was a blessing because I’ve grown to have more compassion for others facing trails, especially health related trails. And it was a blessing because it continues to remind me that I don’t control Ben’s, Lottie’s or my life. I can now say, truly believing with my whole heart, that God has been faithful. Even though those were some of the hardest scariest weeks for me, I know God grew me leaps and bounds. He continues to be faithful even now.
We’ve made it through two rounds of blood work and all Ben’s blood levels look great! Ben health will continue to me monitored over the next five years, although as time goes on the chance for the cancer coming back lessen quite a bit. I know that if the cancer were to return, I would have my faith greatly tested again. But if I believe God to be who He says He is, than I have to believe He will keep me in perfect peace no matter the trial.