When your pants fit right, you’re confident they will stay up. When they’re loose, they slip when you walk and need to be pulled up every few steps. The uncertainty and discomfort I’m facing right now broke me to tears in a pair of loose pants today.
Cancer treatment takes nearly every routine or comfort that you can think of and either kills it or, at best, adds frustration to it. The physical condition of my body has been shaky since my treatment began—I was diagnosed last October—and today the treatment is wasting away my mind. I’m cautious to even try to write something remotely profound because the steroids sometimes toy with my personality and emotions. Add to that the wonder of my cancer’s recurrence and the possibility it could spread that plagues my mind every day, and let’s face it: I’m frustrated.
When even the comfort of my sanity is strained, nothing seems to fit. I crave feeling normal. I want my pants to fit. I want to live a “normal life” again. I don’t want to need help with anything anymore. Every time one part of me starts to heal, another fire breaks out somewhere else.
At some point through this time of suffering and drastic change in lifestyle, my pursuit of God’s calling was sidetracked. I became so concerned with my failing condition that I stopped trusting in what God has for me. When everyone is worried about you and looking to make you happy, it taints your perspective. It’s pretty easy to justify yourself and those around you when you have physical troubles to show for it, but the decay on my heart was too vulnerable to hide.
Over time, I naturally resorted to feeding on my girlfriend’s love for my heart’s every need. But even in our fairy tale relationship, nothing covered the vastness of our fallen state. Recently a blatant reality check came: new anxieties, based on my twisted imagination, with respect to her safety and even her commitment to me. It was obvious that I was over-dependent and my worry was out of place, but nothing changed even when she brought up the issues. It wasn’t until I slipped into those loose pants that I realized that my life’s foundation had shifted, and its parts were beginning to sink.
“For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them” (Ezekiel 34:11, TNIV). This is a Promise for those who waver, and it came to me in a verse of an old hymn we sing at church:
Though afflicted, tempest-tossed,
Comfortless awhile thou art,
Do not think thou canst be lost,
Thou art graven on my heart
All thy wastes I will repair,
Thou shalt be rebuilt anew;
And in thee it shall appear,
What a God of love can do.
The light of The Promise exposed the darkness of the lies I cherished, and I was reminded of who I was. I am graven on the heart of a Great Purchaser who bought my lacking body with that which was most precious to Him. In my purchasing, there lies a purpose that I have been called and appointed to carry out. And no matter how daunting the burden of my calling, my competence and abilities are my greatest weakness in a life that is desperate for grace—even in its best condition. The joy that comes in fulfilling my purpose and pleasing the Great Purchaser cannot be matched in anything I would choose to do on my own.
“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3-4, NIV). If I truly believe that my existence is for the purpose of bringing Him glory and that no greater joy is found in carrying that out, why am I not looking for every opportunity to serve Him and His church? There is no life in the things we do, but the things we do are brought to life when done for His glory in place of our own. Christ is our hope and His hope does not disappoint. No matter what our condition, He has called His followers according to His purpose and fitted us with the grace to complete it.