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For the Days Our Troubles are Too Much: On Cancer, Loss and Other Trials God Sees Us Through

By Dr. Michelle Bengtson

Brave Women Series - Michelle's Story


When trouble comes your way, how do you make it through? A devastating diagnosis? A prodigal child? Job loss? Estrangement from a loved one?


Jesus said, “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). He warns us that in this world we will have trouble. So the question remains, how are we supposed to make it through?


The day doctors gave me a cancer diagnosis, memories vividly flooded my mind as I thought back to the time many years prior when I was suddenly so ill. I couldn’t be the doctor helping patients, an engaged wife to my husband, or a fully participative mother with my young children. The attack started as I was seeing patients in my private practice, when I doubled over in pain, and immediately knew something was wrong… so very wrong.


I never would have predicted what ensued: five months of medically prescribed bedrest, two emergency surgeries, being kept alive on IV-hydration and nutrition, and dwindling down from 113 pounds to a skeletal 74. The longer I remained critically ill, the worse depression seeped in and stole what was left of my mental health. If this was going to be my life, I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue living. The longer it took for my health to stabilize and then fully return, the more I cried out to God in desperation.


 

"The longer I remained critically ill, the worse depression seeped in and stole what was left of my mental health. If this was going to be my life, I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue living."

 

But God promises to see us through whatever we face.


“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” (Isaiah 43:2)


No matter what troubles come your way, God will see you through. The trouble may not be removed, but He is faithful.



 

"No matter what troubles come your way, God will see you through. The trouble may not be removed, but He is faithful."

 

As the pain, isolation, and loneliness engulfed me and threatened to plunge me into depression’s abyss, I reflected on God’s faithfulness throughout my life when I wasn’t sure I could make it.


God had seen me through some very dark days after losing my father to a fatal heart attack, losing my mother to lung cancer, the loss of our baby to miscarriage, caring for my husband through multiple bouts of cancer, the loss of my husband’s mother to Alzheimer’s dementia, personal illness, and so much more.


And yet, God’s grace is sufficient for each day.


Every time troubles assaulted us, God proved faithful. He provided enough grace for the day, especially when I didn’t feel strong or brave.


“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).


God revealed many times that He saw me. He knew right where I was. And God sees you, too.


God also provides the strength we need.


Hindsight is a great teacher. When I look back over the hardest seasons of my life, God has always supplied what I needed, when I needed it, although I rarely saw it at the time. As humans, we are pain averse, and our impatience longs for God to answer our prayers yesterday. But that’s not how God works. He’s not a minute too soon, and never a minute late. We serve an on-time God.


 

"As humans, we are pain averse, and our impatience longs for God to answer our prayers yesterday. But that’s not how God works. He’s not a minute too soon, and never a minute late. We serve an on-time God."

 

During the long days and nights at the hospital when my husband was in ICU being treated for cancer, I prayed for strength not to get through the day, but strength for the next five minutes, and then the next.


When I was relegated to prolonged bedrest, God not only proved himself faithful to provide the strength I needed, but he also comforted me when I felt alone and despaired at what my life might become.


God promises, “But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).


God remains our constant source of help.


When troubles come, we must remember our words have power. “The tongue has the power of life and death” (Proverbs 18:21).


 

"When troubles come, we must remember our words have power. “The tongue has the power of life and death” (Proverbs 18:21)."

 

When tempted to say, “I don’t know how I’m going to make it…” the truth is, “I will make it with God’s help because God promises, “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength”” (Philippians 4:13).


It’s also helpful to speak scriptures and declarations out loud because faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17). When faced with troubling circumstances, declare something like this out loud: God will see me through to a hope and future (Jeremiah 29:11).


We get through life’s troubles by:

1. Taking our eyes off our problems and putting them on the Problem Solver. (Psalm 16:8 NIV)

2. Encouraging ourselves in the Lord. (1 Samuel 30:6 KJV)

3. Praying continually. (James 5:16)

4. Surrounding ourselves with people who will remind us of truth. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)

5. Trusting that God never wastes our pain. (Romans 8:28, Genesis 50:20)


The beautiful thing about God’s economy is that he never intends for us to stay stuck in our troubles, but instead, he wants to see us through them. And when we do, we will have a testimony of God’s faithfulness to share.


 

"The beautiful thing about God’s economy is that he never intends for us to stay stuck in our troubles, but instead, he wants to see us through them. And when we do, we will have a testimony of God’s faithfulness to share."

 

We will be able to comfort others with the same comfort he has given us (2 Corinthians 1:4) and encourage ourselves the next time troubles arise to disrupt our lives. Instead, we can boldly disrupt the despairing thoughts with the recollection of God’s prior goodness to see us through.


You can trust Him in the midst of your troubled waters!


 

Brave Woman Manifesto


Make sure to check back next week as another courageous Sister shares her story. And by the way...


You are Brave!


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