Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Psalm 2

From the New Living Translation

Why are the nations so angry?
    Why do they waste their time with futile plans?
The kings of the earth prepare for battle;
    the rulers plot together
against the Lord
    and against his anointed one.
“Let us break their chains,” they cry,
    “and free ourselves from slavery to God.”
But the one who rules in heaven laughs.
    The Lord scoffs at them.
Then in anger he rebukes them,
    terrifying them with his fierce fury.
For the Lord declares, “I have placed my chosen king on the throne
    in Jerusalem, on my holy mountain.”
The king proclaims the Lord’s decree:
“The Lord said to me, ‘You are my son.
    Today I have become your Father.
Only ask, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance,
    the whole earth as your possession.
You will break them with an iron rod
    and smash them like clay pots.’”
Now then, you kings, act wisely!
    Be warned, you rulers of the earth!
Serve the Lord with reverent fear,
    and rejoice with trembling.
Submit to God’s royal son, or he will become angry,
    and you will be destroyed in the midst of all your activities—
for his anger flares up in an instant.
    But what joy for all who take refuge in him!

As I look at this Psalm and ponder melanoma, I take away several things that help shape my attitude and my own battle plan.

1. Don't spend my time pursuing my own plans. While I do need to know myself and what I'm comfortable with and what I'm not, I also need to resolve to do this God's way as best as I can. He created me and knows me better than I know myself. I've grown in learning how the Holy Spirit gets through to me and I know I better listen, even when I don't understand. Read this earlier post to better understand what I'm talking about.

2. Something in this resonates with me as melanoma being a "chain" that God can break. While I will never know until I know what melanoma is actually doing, if anything, inside of me, God can keep it at bay. And, should He choose to allow it to recur, for whatever reason, He can break the chains that comes with it...for there are many links in the melanoma chain. Indeed, as I write, the links of fear, dread, and worry are getting thinner. They haven't quite snapped in two yet, but I'll take thinner.  And, the day will ultimately come that, whether I die from melanoma or not, the melanoma chain will be broken, for good, and forever. I have that hope and reassurance!

3.So, I choose to take refuge in God. I'm not perfect, far from it; none of us are perfect. But even in my imperfection, I serve the LORD as best I can. I do my best to live by the Spirit and be guided by the Spirit. When God gets ticked at me and has to discipline, I do my best to catch on and submit.

4. And in doing so, I really have learned, seen, felt, anything you want to call it, that though this disease will hound me all the days of my life and I may leave this earth because of it one day, I can know the joy of the LORD in spite of it. Melanoma only has as much power over my spirit as I give it. I cannot control what it does in and to my body. But I do choose how much sway to let it have over my emotions, attitude, habits, and anything else I can control.

There was a time, when I first started this journey, that I thought melanoma got to run the show. I gave in to panic attacks and scanxiety. I know all about attirude and still get plagued by that (do a blog-site search for attirude. I've blogged about it often). I confused "happiness" and "joy." I let fear rule...and that's normal with this diagnosis.

But I'm five years...FIVE years, out from my stage 3b diagnosis now and I've learned a lot.

I've learned to recognize when attirude begins and how to control it. And though it flares up, it doesn't last as long as it used to nor is it as intense while it lasts. I've learned to stay in communication with God throughout my day in a way I never did before this disease, and I've learned to let the Psalms speak to, and minister to, my soul. I've learned to read theses gems with human emotion and in doing so, I've learned the Psalmists express every emotion known to man; work through their anger, fear, depression, doubt, etc; and as they work through...they remember how God has seen and carried them through life-events in the past and they gain new hope and faith that God will do it again.

I've relearned that God can handle my very real emotions and challenges as long as I am honest with Him...He can handle my honest heart. It's not being honest that prevents God from helping me. If God already knows my heart (which He does), why not give my heart voice? Which leads to tears. Which leads to really long discussions with God. Which leads to me calming down and feeling Him soothe my soul and gaining strength to keep on keeping on. And we muddle through. God gets it right and I come behind Him and throw kinks in the chains He's breaking. I just can't seem to help doing that.

And so we come full-circle, God and me. Back to those chains that need breaking. Thinning the links. Me taking refuge and finding joy...even when it's a modicum of joy. That's OK.

For the joy of the LORD is my strength.

And I am grateful!

charis