What a struggle today’s blog has been to write! I’ve been trying to get something – anything – on paper for three days. Every time I decided on a topic and began to write, my brain would decide to take a vacation and my fingers would freeze. It has been a frustrating struggle, especially considering I have a number of topics waiting patiently in my “Blog” folder about which I can write.
Last week certainly had its share of tests and struggles. What week doesn’t? I believe that we are always being tested in some way. James 1:2-4 says in one of the latest translations of the Bible, The Message: Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. A gift?? He’s joking, right? We are supposed to consider these tests and struggles a gift. One that will increase our faith. Hmmm…
I had my annual mammogram two weeks ago. As soon as I walked out of the door, after having gone through minutes of sheer agony, I promptly put the test out of my mind. Until I received a telephone call last week saying that I needed to go back for additional tests. About every two years, I get the same call. It seems that the right side is much harder to scan and read than the left side. So when I received this call, I was not surprised. But it wasn’t the right side this year. It was the left. And the left side didn’t show what the radiologist thought was fibrous tissue. It showed nodules … cysts. The actual words the doctor’s nurse used were “suspicious nodules. You need to get these additional tests done as soon as possible so it can be confirmed that these nodules are benign or not.”
Fear immediately rose up within me and my vivid imagination had a field day. (Why can’t my imagination be vivid when I’m writing the “Great American Novel”?) Truly, I had myself diagnosed and on the operating table before the telephone call ended. At that moment, I failed the testing of my faith. As soon as I disconnected from that telephone call, I emailed my priest and one of my dearest friends, explained the situation and asked for prayers to be offered up on my behalf. It was evident that they began to pray because I could feel calmness begin to seep into my mind and heart. As I began to calm down, I could see this situation for what it really was – another ploy of the enemy. You see, every time I have the opportunity to minister – whether it is to teach, write, pray, counsel, work in any area of ministry – the enemy attacks and frequently those attacks are against my physical body. It has happened so many times you would think I would recognize the signs, but no. That would make life far too easy! Anyway, once I realized what was happening, I began to pray and to trust God, knowing that He was in control. Throughout the remainder of that day I prayed as I went about my normal routine. Sometimes the prayer would be a simple “I trust You, God.” Other times, I would give praise. And once or twice, when I felt my legs of faith begin to wobble, I would quote scripture, reminding myself that God was the Great Physician.
Are you struggling with an issue today? Is your faith being tested? Remember what James said. The test is a gift to increase your faith. It works. I ought to know. I’m tested all the time.
Oh, yes. The tests? Negative. Thanks be to God!