While reading Psalm 119 today, I remembered my cancer journey. My result was miraculous, but miracles are only possible within challenges and impossibilities. I remember how God helped preserve my life within the cancer nightmare and its treatment protocols. Like Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote, “How do I love thee, let me count the ways,”* I found a powerful peace and joy when I consider how many ways God showed his love to me during my cancer journey. He gave me the strength to pull through the darkness, the tears, the anxiety, and the fears that filled my life. I hate cancer and the nightmare it created for me and those I love. However, I can’t ignore the blessings God gave me through it because of my renewed love for his law and precepts. According to Psalm 119:93, his precepts are life preservers.
If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction. I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life.Psalm 119:92-93
Finding the Love
My creative nature questions and sometimes challenge the norms. I had wondered how anyone could love “the law” that restricts, controls, or limits them. The answer came when God’s law anchored me in stormy times. His precepts and laws helped me to know who he was. It helped me see that he wasn’t punishing me, nor had he abandoned me. He was there to help me to believe and hope, give me direction and preserve my life. With any relationship, the more time you spend together, the more you know them. It’s the same with God. I spent a lot of time with him during my cancer journey, seeking him, crying to him, and looking for help. Understanding the word helped me to know his his will. Then I could more easily face feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, fear, depression, and a myriad of cancer-caused pain.
16 All Scripture is God-breathed [given by divine inspiration] and is profitable for instruction, for conviction [of sin], for correction [of error and restoration to obedience], for training in righteousness [learning to live in conformity to God’s will, both publicly and privately—behaving honorably with personal integrity and moral courage];2 Timothy 3:16
Cheetos and the Word
How do we find delight in the law? My answer is Cheetos. I don’t think about them until I open a bag and have a few, then I want more. That’s goofy but true. It’s the same with God’s word. The more time I spend in the Bible, asking God to illuminate it, the easier it is to understand and the more addicting it is. God loves to open our minds to the meaning of the scripture. The process is encouraging and even fun. Getting to know his word, finding relevant scriptures according to my situation and then quoting it in my trials gave me a place of shelter. Even if we’ve had no experience, God’s word can be a powerful ile we are going through troubles.
Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.Psalm 119:18
The Life Preserver and the Sword
What helped me immensely was searching through the scriptures for verses that applied to my feelings like fear, dread, and hoplessness. After finding the scripture, I used it like a verbal sword to face those issues head-on. It was powerful enough to break up the torrent of thoughts rolling around in my head. God’s spoken word can be louder than tormenting thoughts. The word is a life preserver when we use it as a verbal sword. God created everything on earth just from speaking his word into the void. According to Genesis, God made us in his image. Not that we look like him, but we are designed like him. His words out of his mouth changed and created. There’s power in speaking his word out of our mouths.
I shall not die but live and declare the works of the Lord.
God speaks to us when we read the Bible. When we seek his help in his words and find that perfect weapon of scripture, it’s an assurance of his leadership. When we realize that the God who created the universe provided a powerful word for us to use, it builds our hope and faith. Early in my cancer journey, I found Psalm 119:17, and I would say, “I shall not die, but live and declare the works of the Lord.” I spoke these confessions three times daily, just like taking prescription medicine. I’d also take them “As needed”too. It helped with cancer nightmares, the barrage of “What if ” thoughts, a bad report from the doctor, or being too weak to move and thought it’d be easier to let go and die. Scripture was my perfect prescription for those times in my cancer battle.
Overcome evil with good
Prayer for You
God, thank you for your love for the person reading this. Show them that you are there, right behind the door of their hearts, waiting to show them your love in this trial. God, let them see the wonders and power of your word. Give them the scriptures they can use as their sword to fight these battles. Let them know your steadfast goodness will be their life preserver in this stormy sea. Show them your love and goodwill towards them, in Jesus’ name.
For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.Jeremiah 29:11