One of the hardest things about cancer and other crises is all the waiting. Waiting to see the doctor. Waiting for scan results. Waiting for the cancer to be gone. Your entire life feels like an enormous waiting room. How can you possibly wait when your life is on the line?
One cancer patient, diagnosed a few weeks ago, called me. She had been taking her chemotherapy for a while and wanted to know how long it would be until she saw some results. Should she be seeing some difference by now? It had been almost a week!
Her inquiry reminded me of how I felt upon my own diagnosis with stage 4 lung cancer in 2017. I prayed fervently for the cancer to be removed from my out body immediately. Whether by medical means or divine miracle, I wanted it gone now!
The Bible has much to say about waiting that can help us. Even the most Godly people have struggled with this. Psalm 40 immediately comes to mind. It opens with these words.
I waited and waited and waited for God.
At last he looked; finally he listened.
He lifted me out of the ditch,
pulled me from deep mud.
He stood me up on a solid rock
to make sure I wouldn’t slip.
He taught me how to sing the latest God-song,
a praise-song to our God. (Psalm 40:1-3, MSG)
As we mediate on these verses, we can see how we can and should wait. Remembering to practice these three "P"s will help greatly.
I love this interpretation of the Psalm's opening lines: "I waited and waited and waited..." Most of the more traditional translations simply say, "I waited patiently."
There's a reason why cancer patients are called patients. Never before will you have been forced to endure so much waiting. It's easy to get frustrated, angry, discouraged, even distraught. Of course, none of that changes anything. The best way is always God's way, and most of the time, that means being patient.
I know it's crazy hard. I struggle with my own impatience all the time. I devoted an entire chapter of my book, How Cancer Cured Me, to the topic. I continue to rely on God's help to become more patient. Fortunately, it is one of the fruits of his Holy Spirit living in us.
"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control..." (Galatians 5:22).
The Psalmist testifies, "At last, God looked, listened, and lifted me. He pulled me out and stood me up on a solid rock." The Psalmist had been in prayer, and God heard his prayers.
The most key to waiting well is remembering who you are "waiting and waiting and waiting," patiently for. The doctor, your medication, and physical healing all are secondary. You are waiting on God!
Wait in prayer. Tell God what you need. Cry out. If you can't find the words, pray the Lord's Prayer. The Holy Spirit will help you. Ask in the name of Jesus! Believe, have faith, and trust God. He will work out everything for your good (Romans 8:28).
"He taught me how to sing the latest God-song, a praise-song to our God..." (Psalm 40:1-3, The Message)
Praise your way through the waiting. Thank God for all he has done in your life from the beginning. Count your blessings. Go ahead and praise him in advance for all the he will do. Give him glory and adoration he deserves.
One of the best ways to do that is with a song of praise. Sing where you are with all you've got. Tune your radio, search the web, use your app, and find a channel of worship. Use this time of waiting to be filled with the goodness of God.
I grew up a huge U2 fan and still am. I idolized Bono. One of my favorite songs, which I first heard in the 80's, to this day remains "40." Back then I did not know the Biblical significance of the lyrics. Check it out!
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