Monday, March 6, 2017

The Eve Before Chemo

It's the eve before chemo.  I had chemo 101 today, and judging from the emotional outburst before supper and the fork thrown across the room (no one was hurt in the process), I'd say the reality of all this is finally sinking in.  Hearing all the possible side effects today affected me. There have been tears tonight.  Tears because although cancer is in my body, I feel good, and hearing what the future weeks might entail was not fun.  The list, which includes fatigue, constipation, loss of hair, loss of appetite, and mouth sores, makes me nauseous.  But I will have three drugs at my disposal to fight the nausea I didn't list, so that is nice.

I've now had some quiet time to think and pray, and that's always good for me after those emotional outbursts.  (I just wish sometimes I 'd be quiet and think and pray before the outburst.) One of the things that crossed my mind is the verse that God keeps putting before me: Exodus 14:14.  "The Lord himself will fight for you.  Just stay calm."  (NLT)  or in the NIV "The Lord himself will fight for you.  You need only to be still."

Let me take a moment to share the story around this verse, because it's one that also has been speaking to my heart.  As God would plan it, it is the story I shared in Sunday School the week we started to pray about the possibility of cancer.  It's always been a dear story, but it is becoming even more so.

The story begins on another eve.  The eve before Israel's victory over Egypt at the Red Sea.  On this eve, Israel is in a panic.  They see the Red Sea before them.  They see wilderness beside them.  They see Pharaoh's army chasing them down.  And they have an emotional outburst.  Forks may have flown as they cry out asking Moses if there weren't enough graves in Egypt and if that isn't why he brought them to the wilderness to die.  They wish they had never left Egypt.

But Moses tells them not to be afraid.  He says if they will stand still and watch, the Lord will rescue them.  The will never again see the Egyptians they see today.  And then he shares the words of Exodus 14:14.  He also tells them that His glory will be displayed through Pharaoh and his troops and that He will then be made known.

The rest of the story is this:  God asks Moses why they are still standing there and tells him to get the people going.  He gives Moses instructions and then His presence, in the form of a cloud, comes between the Egyptians and the Israelites.  To the Israelites it is glowing fire.  To the Egyptians it is darkness.  Moses picks up his staff and raises his hand.  God sends a wind and the waters pile up on either side of dry ground where the Israelites can walk through the Red Sea.  The Egyptians chase them.  Around dawn God causes the Egyptian army to panic and when  the Israelites are safely across,  Moses again raises his hand.  The waters stream back into place drowning the Egyptians.  When the Israelites saw God's mighty power unleashed against the Egyptians, they were in awe.  They put their faith in God and in his servant Moses.

So why am I so caught up with this story?  Well, like you have been at some time or another, I am standing between a rock and hard place or like the Israelites between the Red Sea and Egyptian chariots.  The Red Sea of chemotherapy is before me.  It doesn't look safe.  It looks overwhelming.  It doesn't look doable.  Behind me are the slave holders- the Egyptian death chariots; cancer cells.

And so God says, "Stand still and watch.  I will fight for you."  Hmmm.  Could it be that on this eve before chemo God is reminding me that He is the one fighting for me?  And could it be that His glory will be displayed and He will be made known?

Earlier today I found this video.  I really enjoy Mike Donehey's teaching videos.  He is the lead singer for Tenth Avenue North.  When I saw the title, "Fighting for You," I had to check it out.  I include it here, because although Mike gets his thinking from another favorite story, he takes this fighting thing to a different level, but one that I think still applies.

Maybe the story of the Red Sea and God fighting for us is another story to point us to Jesus, the one who came to fight for us and give us freedom from sin and Satan?  One of my favorite lines in the video is, "Imagine you are not fighting for a victory but from a victory that has already been fought for you."

That's a lot of thinking on the eve before chemo.  But I'll share one last thought.  CHEMO:  Christ Has Eradicated My Opponent

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