Letter to a Friend Dealing with Cancer

Robb

Ahh your soul is where the “rubber meets the road.” I have been down this road as well. We are no longer strangers, we have entered “the brotherhood of the suffering and downtrodden.” Escaping through books, instead of prayer. Oh my, how comfortably familiar. Yes, exactly what I did, as well.

Does suffering serve any purpose, or are we just pawns that God manipulates for his own entertainment?

It’s healthy to question these things. You are indeed experiencing a “Job” experience in your life, because of the Cancer. Mine is heart disease.

But unlike Job’s comforter’s, I’ll do no scolding.

You understand well there is NO assurance of healing. In fact, healing has not even been a part of my prayers for you. Now that might seem odd, but it isn’t. My prayers for you and your family is that God would give you grace, sufficient for the day’s needs. Because you are enduring this in the present. Not the past, not the future. But the here and now.

We’ ve one of two choices: Either God’s grace is sufficient, or it’s not. There’s no middle road here.

The important thing to remember, and this was a hard lesson for me to understand: Whatever happens YOU are NOT responsible for the outcome. Your only responsibility is to be obedient to what God has called you to do. And that’s never without consequences.

Obedience at times, means we suffer. Our emotions are in a blender. We stop it for awhile to sample the mix, and it churns around and around again, on a never ending merry-go-round, that seems to never stop. Our minds race away. If we dwell on it too long, madness sets in.

Don’t pray. That’s really NOT your job. It’s the work of friends. Right now, you are bathed daily in the prayers of those who reach out, and call you a friend. That’s our job, not yours.

Learn this principle:

2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,

4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

5 For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

6 If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.

7 And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. (2 Cor 1:2-7 NIV)

Life is not joy. It isn’t wonderful. It’s often times painful.

As Larry O. Richard said: This may be one of the most important values of suffering. If life on earth were a constant joy, why would we fix our hope fully on the grace to be brought to us at Jesus’ return? If life on earth were without difficulty, how would we remain sensitive to our need for God? If life on earth were without trials or persecution how would we be forced to choose between commitment to Christ, and comfort or ease?

As Peter said, suffering does have value. It reveals the genuineness of our faith, and brings praise to the Lord.” (”The 365 Day Devotional Commentary”, Larry O. Richards, Victor Publications, 1992, pg 1109)

I Peter is nourishment for the soul. You will find understanding and compassion there. When you have a few moments, read it through.

We made it through Bible School on prayer. Whatever happens next, you have no control.

Where is Robb?

14 But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.”

15 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!

16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me. (Isa 49:14-16)

You are in the palm of God’s hand. He doesn’t wonder, “Gosh where’s Robb?” He looks at His hand, and says “Ahh perfect. That’s just where you’re supposed to be.”

It doesn’t feel like it, but my prayer is that you would KNOW and EXPERIENCE God’s love and peace through this ordeal. You are NOT responsible for how this turns out. That’s God’s responsibility.

A great weight was lifted from my shoulders, as I came to realise this.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV)

Peace always,

Wayno

Knowing God’s Will for your Life

I’ve gotten a couple of requests for this in the last couple of weeks.  This was the “final exam” for Sanctuary’s Sanctuary International’s Intense Studies Course I took, in 1992.

———–


Knowing God’s Will for your Life

by,

Wayno Guerrini

05/16/92

“What would you say if someone asked you, “How do you know that your living in God’s will, and how do you recognize God’s will for your life?” What scriptures and Biblical principles would you use?

That’s a pretty tall order, isn’t it! Three areas come to mind, and I will further discuss and develop them in this treatise. First of course is prayer and reading (searching) God’s word. Second, is the “peace of God”, and finally, doing things through faith.

I will focus my answer’s to the question, not so much based upon, knowing God’s will (long term) for your life. I think that is beyond the limits of human comprehension. However, I will focus the discussion, on a narrower band of thinking. Knowing God’s will in a specific circumstance.

The first criterion we should utilize of course, is the Bible itself. In the absence of clear cut evidence, (like NOT murdering someone), a thorough examination of scripture to reveal what God’s intent is on the particular subject, is a good place to start.

2 Timothy 3:16 -17 tells us: “ALL Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. So that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (NIV)”

A necessary pre-requisite for knowing God’s will for our lives, is first to become familiar with His Word.

Psalm 119:105 further tells us: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (NIV)”

The Bible tells us that ALL scripture is given by God. Therefore, as Psalms says, it will give guidance to our paths, and direction to our ways.

Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us confidently: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in ALL your ways acknowledge (or know) him, and he will make your paths straight. (NIV)”

We must be diligent in our search for God’s will. Proverbs again tells us, “and if you call for insight and cry aloud for understanding and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear (reverence) of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth comes knowledge and understanding. (Proverbs 2:3-6 NIV)”

Our quest for knowing God’s will for our life, will lead us to really having to seek and search God’s word. But I like what Proverbs says, that if we seek after wisdom, we will understand the fear (or better translated — reverence) of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. Our seeking must be from an honest desire. God want’s to be found!

“You will seek me, and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord…” (Jer 29:13 NIV)

Prayer is of course requisite with searching God’s will. At times, we really don’t know the direction or the path God is leading us. It is important to be steadfast in prayer. James tells us:

“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. (James 1:5 NIV)

Therefore, it is important that we let God know that we need wisdom to help us in a particular circumstance. We do that through prayer and communion with God on a daily basis. Romans 12:2 forms the basis for this:

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2 NIV)

“Therefore, do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are renewed day by day.” (2 Cor 4:16 NIV)

Our walk with God is a daily walk. As such, we should be in communion with God, everyday, telling Him what is troubling us, and honestly seeking to perform his will. The one way to do that, as Romans tells us, is to renew our minds in Christ, that we will be able to prove the good, acceptable and perfect will of God.

Secondly, one of the “indicators” of God’s will for our lives, is the peace of God we have in our hearts. Philippians 4:7 tells us: “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:7 NIV)

I am NOT advocating that we rely fully on our feelings to guide us at all. They are notoriously unreliable. However, the lack of peace in our lives, could be used as a “negative” indicator of God’s will. Again, one should NOT rely on feelings, but often, God’s peace will accompany or be absent in a major decision regarding our lives.

Finally, let’s examine the issue of faith.

“But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin. (Romans 14:23 NIV)”

This passage deals primarily with food being offered to idols. But upon closer scrutiny, we see that everything that is not of faith, is sin.

You see, we also know that our walk is by faith, and not by sight alone. (2 Cor 5:7)

Yet what is faith?

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1 NIV)”

Or to quote Archie Bunker — “Faith is believing what no one in their right mind would believe!”

You see, Archie’s faith, as well as that of many of us, is centred on what I can touch, feel, taste, smell or see. To often we forget the principle contained in Zechariah 4:6 “So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty. (NIV)”

You see, God’s will is not always meted out in the physical, visible, tangible things of this world. It is by his Spirit, that God accomplishes all the things in our life. We forget that sometimes.

For me, “Faith is the quiet confidence that God is working in our life, behind the scenes, to accomplish His own good will, even though our feelings may often betray us.” (W. Guerrini, circa 1992)

Also coupled with faith, is circumstances. It’s been described as looking for “open doors.” If you have to FORCE a “door” open, unless you have other strong indications that it IS God’s will, then the idea may either be against God’s will entirely, or at least be premature and ahead of His perfect timing.

Finally, one of the areas I struggle with is this: “Be joyful always; pray continually. give thanks in all circumstances. for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thes 5:16-18 NIV)”

We aren’t always very joyful going through the trials and tribulations of life. James 1:2 says “Consider it pure joy, my brothers when you face trials of many kinds. (NIV)” {NOT!}

Often we will say, “Yeah, but you don’t understand what I am going through.” God’s will for us is that we would be joyful always. The key to joy, I believe is beginning to focus our attention not so much on the temporal things of this earth, but by having our attention, and our will’s focused on those things of an eternal value: Our Salvation, God’s living Word (Jesus Christ), and lastly the friendships (relationships) we have made. This I am convinced, is the key to the joy Paul experienced in the Philippian jail.

We have but scratched the surface of knowing God’s will for our lives. But through prayer, searching God’s word, occasionally relying on our feelings, and finally reaching out in faith, we can begin to determine what God’s good and perfect will is for our lives. (Romans 12:2)

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