Job, a man who honored God, went through trial, and more trial and even more trial. But after a great amount of time, the Lord did speak. The Lord did answer Job: “The LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said: “Gird up thy loins now like a man:”(KJV).
Oh, the mystery of God’s word, but so worth the effort to discover it’s meaning!
God used cancer in my life to be that whirlwind, to wake me up to LIFE.
You see, my vision was horizontal, yes, I had the Lord, but I was heavy-hearted and focused on troubles more than focusing on the Lord. The fruit in my life was being ‘choked’ because of the weeds of worry and the thorns of sorrow and loss.
My Father in heaven, in the midst of this cancer fight spoke in His word, to me personally,(even though originally they were written for Job). On this day, the word was opened, my body was sick and broken, my emotions were shot and I was anxious, but God, my loving Father spoke directly to me:
“Gird up!”, “Get up!”
Peter uses the ‘gird up’ expression in 1 Peter 1:13,
“Therefore gird up the loins of your mind,
and rest your hope fully
upon the grace that is to be brought to you
at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
Well, one meaning of the word ‘gird up’, is ‘to cinch up the robe you are wearing to allow you to move with agility and purpose.’
But, ‘gird up the loins of your mind’?
Perhaps it helps to read the verse from the Amplified Bible,
“So brace up your minds; be sober – circumspect [morally alert]; set your hope wholly and unchangeably on the grace (divine favor) that is coming to you when Jesus Christ, the Messiah, is revealed.”1 Peter 1:13.
God was revealing His Son, Jesus Christ to me. Not like any beautiful building could, or perfect environment or location, No, God chose to reveal who He was through…a huge trial!
‘Jesus Christ the Messiah’ is revealed through God’s word, and God had a word for me on this dark and cold ‘day’ in my life! I turned to Psalm 73:1, and very plainly, it spoke:
“Truly God is good.” Psalm 73:1.
This basic truth was my battle! Did I or did I not believe this? Could I ‘brace up my mind’ and set my hope on all that Jesus is, even in loss and suffering?
The lie of the enemy says: ” How can a good God allow this?” “God will take stuff away.” Or, “Isn’t God trying to keep you away from fun? Isn’t God trying to hold something back from you?”
But the word of God in Psalm 73:1, says, “Truly God is good.”
Do we agree with the word, or do we argue and disagree with God and say in our hearts, and even believe:
“Obviously in all this trouble, God does not care.”
There is enough stubbornness in me(then and now!) that I made the choice to ‘brace up my mind…and set my hope wholly and unchangeably on the grace that is coming to us…’ What if none of this is true? What if what I believed was all in my head? What did I lose?
I made the choice to believe God’s word and agree with God’s word and guess what?
I began to be restored. I was being restored in my soul. Just like the Bible says: “the law of the LORD is perfect restoring the soul;”Ps. 19:7. It is powerfully, amazingly alive and true. God’s word restored my soul!
When troubles and loss occurred, even before my diagnosis to cancer, did I panic? Even with the Lord, yes. I was afraid and struggled with fear. Did I panic? Did I doubt? Yes, all of that.
But I knew where to run! And run I did: “The name of the LORD is a strong tower, the righteous run to it and are safe!” (Proverbs 18:10). ‘Gird up’ your thoughts Toni, take every thought captive and think truth! This was God’s loving exhortation! He didn’t discipline me and let me go- NO, God began restoring me because His name is: ‘Gracious and Compassionate and Slow to Anger and Abounding in Truth and Forgiving iniquity and sin and extending mercy to generations’ (thank you Gayle Erwin for your wonderful breakdown of Exodus 34:6,7). That is the name I ran to, the strong tower from my enemy. When the world turns a cold, dark cloud your way, God remains, even in the great darkness.
I made the choice to believe God’s word and let the revelation of the goodness of God transform me.
This is what God’s word says about affliction:
“This is my comfort in my affliction, For Your word has given me life.” (Psalm 119:50)
“Thank you Lord, for the brokenness and pain and even the suffering, because you came down and answered me out of the whirlwind. I’m giving You praise, Lord, today.”
“Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” (Eph. 5:14,15).
God woke me up! He used the cancer in my life so that I could ‘gird up’ and start really ‘believing’ what I always believed! Yes, God is good, He makes all things work together for good!
Cry out to Jesus. He hears. He’s alive. He came down then, He comes down now and He says, “It is I, do not be afraid.”
Believe in Jesus. He is able to accomplish all that concerns you…today.
How do I know? Because He did and He continues to do all this for me. My part? Is simply to believe and receive…not just once and for all, no, but for every waking breath and moment. May God richly bless you as He reveals His Son, Jesus Christ, who is the author and the finisher of our faith! And He is good, yes, God is good. Amen.