Last week, in "Ultimate Rest" Part 4, I told the
story of how God delivered me from one addiction, but left me struggling
with the other for many, many years. Just like in the initial conquest
of Canaan, God had left some "remaining nations," and through this
continuous struggle, I learned what it means to totally rest in Jesus.
Today's lesson is yet another example of how leaving behind the nations in Canaan was all part of God's plan: "See, I have parceled out to your tribes these remaining nations, from the Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea in the west, including all the nations I defeated." (Joshua 23:4)
When I had my very first Oncology visit and was told by my Oncologist that the risk of me redeveloping cancer was very small, I understood how Israel felt after the conquest of Canaan: God had completely delivered me from my "enemy", cancer, and I was free to possess my ultimate rest from worry about this menace that had so uninvitedly invaded my life.
My second Oncology visit also came and went, and then the third, complete with its now-yearly (thanks, cancer!) mammogram, all with the same message: I was cancer-free.
As I approached my fourth oncology visit, roughly 18 months after my diagnosis of cancer, I began noticing some strange health symptoms. Concerned, I looked it up on the internet, and sure enough, there was a very slight chance it could be a sign of return of cancer. My oncologist assured me the chances were slim indeed; however, just to be on the safe side, I was to go for some tests.
Wait a minute, God, when you healed me of cancer, wasn't that a complete healing? Why these strange symptoms?
Sure enough, the test results were negative, I was still cancer free.
As visit number five approached, I had to go for yet another mammogram. Imagine my shock when they called me back in for a repeat mammo and ultrasound.
Why, God! Why all these scares?
It's about that time that God showed me the Truth in Joshua 23:4: When God gave Israel the land of Canaan, He didn't drive out ALL of the Canaanites..."See, I have parceled out to your tribes these remaining nations..." (Joshua 23:4). Instead, He promised to continue to drive them out. "...The LORD your God will drive them out from before you and remove them, so you can occupy their land as the LORD your God promised you." (Josh 23:5).
After working these verses into my spirit for a few days, I began to understand. God had promised complete and total deliverance, but He hadn't promised it would be all at once. There would still be "canaanites" (read cancer-related worries) that I would have to deal with; but through these, He promised to "...drive them out from before [me] and remove them, so [I] can occupy [my] land as the Lord [my] God promised [me]."
When I finally got the results of the repeat mammogram and ultrasound, the news was, in general, very positive; yet there was still room left for doubt, for the results were not completely conclusive. I now have to go for ultrasound follow-up in 6 months, and I was assure that I would probably always have questionable mammographic results.
As I contemplated this, I realized that this was a "remaining nation." For a moment, I was tempted to be discouraged. Then I remembered the rest of the verse: "...The Lord your God will drive them out from before you and remove them..."
Why didn't God just heal me once and for all?
I believe it is because He still has lessons of faith to teach me. He wants me to realize that in the same way I learned to trust Him through cancer, I can trust Him through these scares as well; and more than that, I can trust Him through every single problem that life throws my way.
That promise isn't just for me, but for each one of you. Let's resolve together to put each and every problem back in His hands and let Him carry us through, for isn't He our Rock?
"from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy." (Ps 61:2,3)
Please join us next week for the conclusion of "Ultimate Rest."
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.