For the past decade, going to the doctor has felt a bit like guzzling apple cider vinegar while walking on hot coals. Not exactly my idea of fun.
Thursday was no exception—bad news again. Not cancer but a complicated cocktail of issues my doctor believes first set my cancer into motion. And the complicated solutions are (once again) breathtakingly expensive, time-consuming, and without any guarantees.
As I began to recover from the firehose of new test results, I especially sensed God with me. “I know You’re not surprised by this,” I quietly told Him. “I know You have everything I need for this.”
But I’m sure you know as well as I do that trusting God doesn’t mean skirting around the tough emotions that surface on dark days. So even while I was full of faith, I also felt deeply discouraged—sad that I have a broken body, that I can’t seem to string together three weeks of good health. My heart was heavy.
I reached for my Bible, opened to Psalms, and read two verses (just two) before it struck me with new force that while my body is a bad news factory, this Book is nothing but good news. The best news. And when I sit in it—when I linger in these precious pages—my heart grows strong with hope. In this world my body might continue to be weak, but in His Word my spirit is a triathlete.
The apostle Paul put it this way: “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day” (2 Cor. 4:16).
Okay, and get this: God’s good news doesn’t cost a thing. It’s free, free, free.
Can we just steep in the beauty of this for a moment?
God’s Good News Costs Us Nothing
The best of doctors and clinicians and institutions have, in essence, said to me, “We’re not entirely sure what’s going wrong in your body, and we’re even less sure of whether or not we can cure you. But let’s give it our best shot.” This then sets into motion The Medical Bill Marathon, a financial feat so grueling it could send a strong man into the fetal position in two seconds flat.
But in striking contrast, God Himself perfectly diagnosed our (infinitely bigger) problem, then offered us a 100 percent guaranteed cure that cost Him everything and us nothing. The Perfect Physician was also the Cure, and the Cure was also the Generous Bill-Payer.
This is the best news in the history of the world. Every time I open my Bible, every time I recall a promise from these pages, good news wins. So let the bad news come—it will soon be buried with my bones anyway (whether in one year or fifty). But good news gains momentum. Like the beautiful picture painted in Ezekiel 47, God’s goodness starts as a gentle trickle in our life, but it won’t stop until it’s a rushing river that flows deep and wide, bringing life to everything it touches.
Dear one, when we make a habit of looking for that goodness—which requires us to lift our eyes from our singleness, sickness, infertility, divorce, empty bank account, lost loved one, or wounded relationship—we begin to understand that bad news on this side of eternity is sort of like stubbing your toe on the way to collect your billion-dollar inheritance.
More Good Than We Know What to Do With
Okay, so I stubbed my toe again this past week. But I’m sitting here, wealthy beyond compare, spoiled by a Rich and Wonderful Daddy, who loves me beyond anything I will ever deserve. He’s taking my unwanted test results and physical limitations and deep disappointments and working so much good in my life that I don’t know what to do with it all. Seriously. It’s crazy.
Susan Huntington once wrote, “Afflictions are sent for our profit, and if we do not profit by them, the fault is entirely our own.”1
I’ve missed out on some amazing blessings along the way because I was so eager to avoid suffering. But whenever I’ve wrapped my arms around the hardships, when I’ve viewed them as a means of experiencing more of Christ, the blessings flow like a rushing river.
What bad news have you heard recently, dear one? What feels like an insurmountable discouragement to you today? That is exactly where God wants to bring you so much good it will take your breath away.
For more help on refreshing your emotions, check out these resources:
- “God Is with You in Your Panic Attack”—another blog post from Colleen
- “The Truth About Emotions”—video message by Dannah Gresh
- “Ask Nancy: How to Control Runaway Emotions”—Revive Our Hearts radio program
1 Donna Kelderman, Seasons of the Heart: A Year of Devotions from One Generation of Women to Another (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2013), March 31 entry.