The day of my needle biopsy was here, and I wasn’t looking forward to it.
A few weeks earlier, God had given me a specific message: I was to go through troubled times, but I wasn’t to worry, because He would carry me through every step of the way, and in the end, I would be fine. That very same evening, I found the lump, and I knew in my heart that the “troubled times” would be a little trip through the cancer experience.
But didn’t God’s promise that in the end I would be fine, didn’t that mean the lump would miraculously vanish?
Of course. It had to. And I clung to that promise.
But the lump didn’t go away, and when the mammogram showed that it was suspicious for cancer, I was scheduled for a needle biopsy. I continued to pray, claiming my interpretation of God’s original promise. I was sure it would be gone the morning of the procedure, and when I went in, they would find nothing to biopsy!
Unfortunately, this wasn’t what God meant when He promised me a good final outcome, and when I awoke on the day of my scheduled biopsy, the lump was still there.
I have to admit that I was a bit annoyed at God. He had promised a good outcome from this trial. Why wasn’t He coming through for me?
When I opened my Bible that morning, I read a very interesting story.
The setting was the Wilderness of Sin, the timing, just a few days after the incredible exodus from Egypt and the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea. We find the children of Israel grumbling and complaining: “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” (Ex 16:1-3)
Now we could be quite harsh on the Children of Israel at this point. We could say, “Have you already forgotten how God so miraculously brought you out of Egypt? Don’t you realize that the God who could do all of that is big enough to provide food for you in the wilderness?”
But I realized right then and there that I was doing exactly the same thing. I know God’s provision is real, yet wasn’t I complaining that my prayer hadn’t been answered the way I wanted it to be?
God was patient with Israel. He told them, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you.” (Ex 16:4 NKJV)
But there were a few stipulations. First, the people were only supposed to gather enough for one day, and any leftovers would be full of maggots. Secondly, there would be one day of the week, the “preparation day”, when the people were supposed to gather twice as much bread, because the bread wouldn’t fall the following day, on the Sabbath (See Exodus 16:5 NKJV).
And sure enough, on the seventh day, there was no bread, and the leftover bread from the “preparation day” was still fresh.
Unfortunately, not everyone believed that their left-over bread from “preparation day” would still be good: “Now it happened that some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather, but they found none.” (Ex. 16:27)
So what was the purpose of no bread falling on the Sabbath day?
God had many important lessons to teach Israel. But the one God brought to my mind that morning was this: He wanted Israel to learn that He was their provision, whether the manna fell or not! He wanted them to understand that even when His provision didn’t seem to be present, they could still depend on Him. His provision would simply look different than they had anticipated!
And that was the message God wanted me to hear that morning before my needle biopsy. He wanted me to know that just because I didn’t “see” His provision, didn’t mean it wasn’t there.
Later that morning, as I dressed for work, I was overwhelmed with the feeling that I should wear a scarf. I almost didn’t do it. It was too hot for a scarf. But in the end I put one on. Then I proceeded to carry God’s message for me in my heart as I went through that biopsy.
And God came through. He surrounded me with caring medical professions, He gave me the courage and strength I needed, and in the end, when the bruising and bandages from the biopsy was visible all up my neck, He reminded me that He had suggested a scarf. A scarf to cover it all up so that I could go back to work and no one would ask questions!
And God did not stopped being my provision through the entire breast cancer experience. He was there every step of the way. But didn’t He, after all, promise to be my provision? To carry me through?
Friends, whatever it is you are facing, let’s remember the manna in the wilderness. God will provide. Period. There will be times when it looks like His provision has run out, but in these times it will just be that His provision does not look the way we anticipate it will! We can rest in the assurance that there is going to be enough for tomorrow! Period! Even when the expected manna doesn’t fall!
Will you join me in resting in His provision? Even when that provision doesn’t appear to be coming? Just know that He is faithful, and when He doesn’t provide what you have asked Him for, He will be faithful to provide for you in so many other, even more beautiful ways!
(To access the entire “Cancer Experiences” devotional series, please click here.)