Explore My News,
Thoughts & Inspiration

What is “just” good news and what makes something a gift?  How do the desires of our hearts fit into the mix?

I received good news a few days ago.  Testing has determined that chemotherapy adds no benefit – at all – to the treatment of my cancer.  So it will be six weeks of radiation (5 days per week) followed by a daily pill for 5-10 years.

That’s good news!  And I immediately felt a release of the tension that I hadn’t realized I had been carrying as I waited to hear.  There’s a lightness now that had been on hold. I can make plans for the fall (taking into account just the increasing level of fatigue caused by the radiation).  The holidays will be after the treatment, not in the middle of it. I won’t lose my hair!. The list of good results goes on and on.

To be honest, it wasn’t the news I was expecting.  So the relief was immense.

But it’s more than good news.  It feels like a gift. My heart’s desire was to not have to go through chemo.  Suddenly, that desire is a reality. And it’s stirring some musings deep in my spirit.

Because if there is a gift, there is a giver.

Had the results been different, that would have been okay.  My faith would not have been shaken. I would not have felt “let down” by anyone.  I would have gotten through chemo the same way my friends have – the same way countless other women do every year.  There’s nothing in me – or in my relationship with the Lord – that makes me feel entitled to being spared “the hard stuff”.  His companionship through the hard times is enough.

The truth is I know how to do “hard” with the Lord.  I have a steadfast trust in His love and His faithfulness toward me.  So much growth has occurred in those seasons. So much good work has been done.  And the gifts embedded in those hard times have been deep and lasting and solid.

But a gift that aligns with the desires of my heart – I’m less sure how to receive that. There’s a level of delight that comes naturally and easily. There’s a nagging dilemma as well.  I don’t expect “special treatment”. I’m not doom and gloom, expecting the worst, but I didn’t do anything that would explain why I get good news and someone else gets bad news.  I didn’t pray harder, believe more, declare more boldly or anything else along those lines.

I’ve always struggled more with understanding the “why me” when I’m on the “good news” or easy side than when I’m on the “bad news” or hard side.  I’m much more likely to ask “Why is my life easier than most?” rather than “Why is this happening to me?” And I can get tangled up in trying to figure out that “why”.

So here’s what is stirring deep in my spirit.  How do I fit all the pieces together? And I keep coming back to …

If there’s a gift, there’s a Giver.

It doesn’t explain everything, but it feels like the place I need to return to, the central truth.

Scripture tells us that every good gift is from above.  This good news is also a good gift. Can I acknowledge that it comes from Him – without getting bogged down in the ‘why me and not others”?

I believe deeply that I have a heavenly Father who loves me and we’re told that if we know how to give good gifts to our children, He does it even better than we do.  Can I draw on the delight I feel giving gifts to my kids and believe that my heavenly Father feels that way (and more) toward me? Can I allow myself to relax into that love without having it all figured out?

As a believer and as a daughter of the King, I do have a spiritual authority and I’m told to approach the throne with boldness and confidence.  I’m told to bring all of my cares to Him. That doesn’t mean I have a magic formula for getting everything I want. Can I fully embrace my identity as a beloved daughter – without being afraid I’ll be perceived as having an inappropriate “sense of entitlement”?

All of these musings stem from the great joy of receiving good news and a good gift. They don’t distract from the joy. They point me back to the heart of God and they challenge me to believe in fresh ways – deep down – that I’m “beloved”. I’m grateful for that as much as I’m grateful to be spared chemo.

And there’s something else that is stirring – quite unexpectedly.  It has to do with how much this aligns with the desire of my heart.  This news wasn’t a need. It wasn’t an expectation. It was just a wish to be spared chemo – a desire to not have to go through that.  And it happened anyway.

To my surprise, I find my thoughts turning to other desires of my heart and I find hope rising in new ways.  Maybe there will be someone to share my life. Maybe there are more times in great and deep community. Maybe there will be times at the beach and times of travel.  

Maybe …

We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.

There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!  (Romans 5:2-5, The Message)

So the journey continues.  And hope is stirring in some new ways.