An Encouragement to Expect Good.
Pastor Scott’s sermon from back in September keeps kicking around in my head. Expect Good. Expect that God has good things for you in your life. Expect that good things are yet to come. Then in my reading plan I read these verses from 2 Corinthians in the Amplified version and I had to stop. God was speaking. And not only am I to expect good, I am to be certain that this expectation is “firmly grounded”. (I include the surrounding verses as they are powerful).
2 Grace to you and peace [inner calm and spiritual well-being] from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Blessed [gratefully praised and adored] be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts and encourages us in every trouble so that we will be able to comfort and encourage those who are in any kind of trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For just as Christ’s sufferings are ours in abundance [as they overflow to His followers], so also our comfort [our reassurance, our encouragement, our consolation] is abundant through Christ [it is truly more than enough to endure what we must]. 6 But if we are troubled and distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted and encouraged, it is for your comfort, which works [in you] when you patiently endure the same sufferings which we [b]experience. 7 And our [c]hope for you [our confident expectation of good for you] is firmly grounded [assured and unshaken], since we know that just as you share as partners in our sufferings, so also you share as partners in our comfort.
The idea of expecting good resonated with me. I am an optimistic person. But when science started to tell me that my days are very numbered I didn’t know how to reconcile being optimistically hopeful when science and statistics were telling me to prepare for the worst.
I battle fear on a regular basis. It pops up and then disappears and then comes around with a new face. I fear my cancer coming back and the loses that would involve: my hopes (even my newly remodeled hopes post-diagnosis), my passions (to write my heart out in hopes of sharing God’s love in this way), my desires (to grow old with my husband and to raise my children and see their children enter this world). I know that giving in to the fear will only steal this day, today, that I have right in front of me. So I fight the fear hard.
The past couple weeks fear has taken new shape. I’ve been reading a book called, Unashamed by Christine Caine. In this book she discusses overcoming shame through the power of God. As I was reading one story stood out. The author references the story in 2 Kings 6&7 where 4 lepers sit at the city gate begging for food amidst a massive famine. They are outcast and downcast; but, are given clarity to their situation:
3 Now four men who were [b]lepers were at the entrance of the [city’s] gate; and they said to one another, “Why should we sit here until we die? 4 If we say, ‘We will enter the city’—then the famine is in the city and we will die there; and if we sit still here, we will also die. So now come, let us go over to the camp of the Arameans (Syrians). If they let us live, we will live; and if they kill us, we will only die.”
On the other side of the gate God has already gone before them and spooked the Armeans out of their camp leaving food and abundantly good resources for these 4 lepers. The author here asks us to consider what gate we are sitting at that we need to get up from and walk through.
Think about it. What gate are you habitually sitting at? What gate are you at that may have treasure on the other side if you are boldly willing to go to the other side? What gate do you need to be bold enough to actually go through?
Not a second lapsed and the Holy Spirit said to me, “You need to walk through the gate of trusting me for healing.”
Bam! This smacked me in the face.
My response was, “Okay, God I hear you. I trust you to heal me.”
As I unpacked what this meant I realized that I was actually not so much disbelieving God’s power to heal me; rather, I was scared of being made a fool. I feared that if I asserted my faith in God to heal me that if the cancer comes back I would be made a fool.
But God has called me to be all in. He has called me to expect good, the goodness He desires for my life. As I see it now I am sitting at a very clear gate. I can either sit here and wait to die. Or I can be bold and risk being called a fool and I walk through the gate of trusting God to heal me. I choose to walk through the gate of FAITH. I choose to walk through the gate of EXPECTING GOOD in ALL areas of my life. ALL of them. Even the impossible ones. Even if it appears foolish to many.
Interestingly, I browsed a secular book recommended to me by a fellow glioblastoma survivor. This book’s audience is cancer survivors and it notes the improved outcomes of those who have “positive expectations” about their disease. Sound familiar?
Be bold to walk through the gate.
I’ll admit here that I hesitated to post this before my MRI results which I’ll get next week. (The enemy tries to knock me down by making me feel foolish to expect good MRI results). But in an act of faith I post this because my faith has been bolstered to always expect good things from my good God.
I invite you to pray with me to this end. I also invite you to share what gates you stand at so we can pray together with you for the boldness to walk through them.
Be bold women of God
God has good things for us.