Today is my birthday. No, not the actual one when my Mom gave birth to me, but my “born again” birthday. 13 years ago today I had a Bone Marrow Transplant which saved my life. Literally. Had I not gone through that process to rid my body of leukemia, I would not be sitting here writing this.
I tear up every year on this day. Things come to mind which I don’t think about all year really, until this day. The smells and tastes which made me throw up, the hair falling out, the constant lethargy, the battle, the love and support…all of it. But most of all what comes to mind is the entire process.
Not only do I become highly emotional every year on this day, but no matter what day of the week it falls on – the church service closest to it always speaks to me in some very specific way about the entire experience. God had a way then, a way during, and a way now. Incredible.
Yesterday in church, we listened to a sermon on the well-known story of the parting of the Red Sea. We’ve been camping in the book of Exodus lately, and I couldn’t love it any more. Big fan of the Old Testament. There are many who continue endless, unsuccessful pursuits to discount the entire Bible. They do this by questioning things that seem too unbelievable to fathom. Well there’s no way THAT could have happened…
Some try to suggest that this Exodus excerpt did not actually take place in the massive body of water known as the Red Sea and instead, happened in the Sea of Reeds. The latter is a marshy, itty bitty body of water and so of course a strong wind may have been able to part a tiny sea, they allow. Exodus 14:29 says that the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. Ok…let’s pretend this all went down in the Sea of Reeds. When you hear “wall,” do you think like, 18 inches? 2 feet maybe?
Doesn’t matter. Those discounters say it was no miracle since it was only a little bit of water. And to that, I say…it’s still a miracle! God either drowned those miserable Egyptians in the Red Sea or in 18 inches of water.
But more than that, the point is this: even as the Israelites were sarcastic to Moses, afraid of the 600+ chariots in Pharaoh’s army coming in full force after them, they were perfectly in the center of God’s will. They just didn’t know it in the middle of their incredible hardship.
And so it was with me 13 years ago. God uses our experiences, our free will choices – both the good and bad ones – to put us right where He wants us to be. We need to be receptive to the teaching and lessons we are receiving in the midst of adversity, distress, and fatigue. As God instructed Moses while simultaneously scolding him…we need to “move on” (Ex. 14:15) which, in the Hebrew is better translated to “move forward.”
In their case, they had no place else to go – another step and they were in the water facing certain death. I didn’t want to step foot into that hospital in 1999 either.
Just as He saved the Israelites from the Egyptians, He saved me from cancer. It’s funny how when we read Facebook posts or listen to others recollect their stories, God is only said to be “good” when they get that promotion or when their cancer is cured or when their relationship is restored.
But what if those things never happen? That answer is easy. God is good always. He is an all-knowing, always in control, never changing God.
It’s a little thing called life that is none of those things. And I give Him thanks for that, too.
Happy Cancer Free Birthday!