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Cancer Can't

I stood by the sink, watching her hair fall to the floor. Her mother and father were standing by me, struggling to keep the tsunami of emotions at bay. Tears welled up in my eyes as I watched one of the strongest and most beautiful people I've known lose something so dear and personal.

It was another one of those moments where the reality of what's occurring just doesn't feel real - like what's transpiring can't be happening to someone you know and love. These awful things happen to others and though you feel you terrible they happen at all, there is a distance associated to the suffering. But, man... when they hit this close to home and it's you and your loved ones walking through the darkest valley you've ever experienced - it's suffocating. It's disorienting. There's a colossal unfairness that is offensive to our innermost being.

And yet, here we all were, experiencing this heartbreaking moment together with our loved one and wishing we could do anything to take the pain away. My dear sister-in-law was battling hard not to let this moment overtake her, yet she was losing. And how could it not be all-consuming? Here she was, on the cusp of yet another major life change due to the cancer that had invaded her body. Here was something else that cancer was determined to take. The weight of this cruel moment was palpable in the room.

And then my brother-in-law started playing worship music. He asked for instrumental worship music, but I feel very confident God intervened in that Google Home device and the song Make Room began playing.

Here is where I lay it down

Every burden, every crown

This is my surrender

This is my surrender

Here is where I lay it down

Every lie and every doubt

This is my surrender

And I will make room for You

To do whatever you want to

To do whatever you want to

And I will make room for You

To do whatever you want to

To do whatever you want to

In the span of a second, the atmosphere shifted. The heaviness that was felt in that living room was lifted and it suddenly became consecrated space. We were in the midst of a holy moment because the Holy Spirit just stepped into our midst.

It occurred to me, as we wept and worshipped, that cancer seeks to take so many things away from those who have been touched by this terrible disease. It purposes itself not only to take away health, but to take away joy, peace, confidence, strength, and even your very identity. Cancer operates in such a way that it demands unbelievable sacrifices of you and your families and friends.

But there are things cancer can't take.

There are things cancer can't even touch.

As songs of praise filled the room, it occurred to me cancer can't take your worship. Your worship is exclusively dedicated to God. He is the object of our worship and adoration. He is worthy of your utmost in spite of even cancer.

Cancer can't take your hope. This one is so difficult to walk out, but I'd venture to say even in the darkest days, there is always hope. Why? Because your hope and our hope doesn't lie in anything in this earthly realm. Our hope is found in Christ alone.

As I watched my sister-in-law walk through this incredibly difficult transition, I realized cancer can't take what it doesn't have power over. It doesn't have power over her, her hope, her worship, or even her body. Years ago, she gave all of herself to Christ and thus, cancer has no claim to any part of her or her life.

I was reminded of when the Children of Israel were getting ready to cross into the Promised Land and Moses was getting ready to die. Moses had led them for 40 years in the desert and here they were about to enter uncharted territory without their trusted leader and there were many questions and concerns about what the future looked like and how everything would turn out. Here are the words Moses spoke to Israel:

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. - Deuteronomy 31:6

The Children of Israel were about to face challenges they had never faced and confront enemies they had never seen before. In the midst of this uncertainty, Moses gives these hard-headed, waffling, and stubborn people a lifeline - they won't be alone. God Himself was going with them and He would never leave them or forsake them.

THIS is our hope when we walk through territories unknown. When we find ourselves facing giants we've never had to face before, we can be reminded that the God who knocked down city walls is the same God who walks with us. The same God who parts seas guides us down uncertain paths and we can trust in His perfect plan.

The adversities of life will do their best to rob of us of all the promises God has given us. They will whisper to us and try to convince us that no one can possibly understand our circumstances or hurts and they certainly cannot help us.

Cancer will absolutely try its hardest to steal the very things God has gifted us with and keep us isolated, but...

Cancer can't.

When it was done, there were lots of hugs and tears. There was a relief in her eyes that it was finally over and the process could begin of temporarily living life without that part of her. After it was done, you would think this was something else cancer had taken from her, but it didn't. It was a surrendering of control to a plan higher than herself. And though it was absurdly difficult, she wasn't alone.

Nor will she be.

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