Summary: We all have storms in life, Jesus will always be there for us.
Blindsided by God … But Never Betrayed
How setbacks in my life revealed the Lord's true character
(I used this which was written by Peter Chin, giving him credit, and the site where it can be found is at the end of this message)
For the past 2 weeks we’ve been looking at the storms which hit us in our lives. We don’t like the storms, we didn’t ask for the storms, but they’ve arrived. And storms come in all shapes and sizes and varieties.
For some the storm might be a health related issue, chronic illness, long term sickness, nuisance sickness, permanent illness, a disability related sickness; and that’s just some of the sicknesses. Then we have the storms of death and loss;
the storms of job loss, the storms of marital difficulty
the storms of trouble with the children and / or grandchildren;
there’s the storms of loneliness and depression;
the storms of separation, bitterness and unforgiveness.
And that list could go on and on.
The most crucial aspect of moving from beginning to end of the storm is what we do while we’re in the midst of the storm. I’m not talking about a poly-anna view of life and God. I’m not talking about rejecting our situation and pretending it’s not there. I’m talking about where is God in the midst of that storm. Do we see God? Do we even allow our brothers and sisters in Christ to be there and walk through the valley with us?
With that in mind, today, I’d like to read a story to you. I discovered it on Christianity Today. I’ve never actually read a story like this, but I believe so many of us will identify with it. The story was written by Peter Chin and it is autobiographical.
It was supposed to be a doctor's visit like any other. My wife would come home and say, as she had done many times before, that everything was okay, and that she should get lots of exercise and eat fruits and vegetables—what doctors always say. We would breathe a sigh of relief, hug each other, and promptly forget that the moment had ever taken place.
But the news that winter afternoon was very different:
Peter, it's cancer. It's cancer.
Carol had been diagnosed with breast cancer, which had already spread to her lymph nodes. A biopsy revealed that her cancer was a particularly aggressive kind called triple negative, and it would resist the best available treatments. In the grim words of a doctor we consulted, this type of cancer was a potent "killer of young women," young women like my wife of eight years, the mother of my two daughters.
Still reeling, we were soon dealt another crushing blow: Our health insurance company had determined that my wife's cancer was a preexisting condition and terminated her coverage. We would be forced to pay for treatments on our own. The shock of her diagnosis had been difficult enough, but this enormous legal complication devastated our already fragile spirits.
I remember feeling a multitude of things during that time: shock, intense fear, confusion. But the emotion I remember most clearly was that of betrayal. I felt betrayed by God.
A Subconscious Theology
You see, I was a good person, or at least had tried my hardest to be one. I had devoted my entire life to following and serving God, giving up a promising career in medicine to become a pastor. I wanted to do great things for His sake, and so we planted a church in Washington, D.C. My family had moved into the heart of the city, intent on being an incarnational witness of Christ. As a result, God was supposed to protect us against the worst that the world could offer.
But he hadn't. Instead, three months into that church plant, God had allowed my wife to get aggressive breast cancer. Then, only a few years after its founding, the church plant was forced to close its doors. Our home has been broken into twice, our car, more times than I can count. These kinds of events, I thought, aren't supposed to happen to people who follow God faithfully. We are supposed to enjoy protection, blessing, and providence, not cancer, failure, and crime. I never expected our lives to be perfect, but this was too much to bear. I felt betrayed by God because He had broken His promises.
This might all seem strange for a pastor to say. After all, Jesus obeys his Father's will and yet is persecuted and suffers terribly. The disciples follow in the footsteps of their Lord and experience the same. According to 1 Peter 4:12, "Do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you."