HIS FACE IN MY JOURNEY
“If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray
and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven
and will forgive their sins and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
In the beginning of this cancer trial, I found myself hypersensitive to the trauma of others. My daughter and I had prayed for years for little 5-yr old Courtney Saunders who had been diagnosed with neuroblastoma at age 2. I was devastated to hear shortly after my own diagnosis that Courtney’s cancer had returned. I experienced a deep pain, as if she were my own child, even though I had never met her. I had similar intense experiences for over a year whenever I heard about any instance of tragedy or trauma. I later learned that I was experiencing a form of post-traumatic stress disorder common to cancer patients. People who have experienced a trauma often re-experience it through the trauma of others. But at the time, God used it to show me a truth.
As I desperately tried to understand why a young child could be afflicted with such a dreadful disease, God reminded me that cancer is not from Him. It is a consequence of the sin and brokenness of this world. As I meditated on this truth, I was struck with the reality of sin and an urgency to tell others of the need to turn to Christ. It is ONLY when we confront our own individual sin that the world and what arbitrarily happens to people like Courtney will ever change.
In reference to 9/11, my pastor preached an unforgettable message painting an image
of God lifting his hand of protection from our nation. When we turn from God by
continuously ignoring Him, we essentially push Him away and He is forced to retreat (e.g.
Romans 1:18-32; Psalms 81:12). As demonstrated throughout Old Testament scripture, God retreats
from a people who abandon His word. God is always combating evil to the highest degree possible, but
He will not violate the principle of free will to do so (REF). We must realize that our choices have consequences
beyond ourselves. Until we abandon our pride, confess our sin and turn to God, the consequences of sin – suffering, tragedy, horror, disease - will persist.
As these thoughts exploded through my mind, I was given a picture of HOPE… that when God’s people, His children, step boldly into the reality of 2 Chronicles 7:14, then the consequences of sin and brokenness will subside. God was stirring in me a desire to tell the world that they need to turn to Him, NOW.