Job 1, Jeremiah 23, Psalm 66:19, Psalm 145:9, Psalm 121: 3, 1 Peter 1:6-7, Romans 8:37-39
Victory. What a sweet and desirous word. Victory isn’t just something we want to hear about, it is something we want to see, to experience, and to know intimately. Yet, in order to have victory there must be some sort of trial, fight, or strife. We simply cannot have victory if there is nothing to be victorious over. Sometimes when we are in the midst of trials, victory seems so unattainable, so far away. However, during this Thanksgiving season it is most important that we stand in the victory that we already have in the power and presence of God.
When thinking about Thanksgiving, the book of Job is not usually at the top of the list. However, in this book we find so much about both victory and thanksgiving. The book of Job tells us about Job’s experiences, hardships, trails, outcries, questions, and answers from God. In this book we find so many truths about God and His presence with us in all of our trials.
First, we see that all things are from God and for God. Job had it all—prestige, wisdom, a great family, friends, an abundance of possession, and health. Then, he lost it all. Upon the news of the loss of his children, servants, and livestock, this was his response in chapter 1:20, “Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped.” Woah! He had just lost his kids, property, and livelihood. Yet, Job mourned, grieved, and then he worshiped.
Job allowed his view of God and God’s greatness to supersede his situation and emotions.
Then he picks back up in verse 1:21, “And he said, ‘Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job gave thanks and blessing to God in the midst of his despair as he knew that all things come from the Lord. How do you view God in your mourning? How does remembering the gifts of God stir up the desire to worship in your life?
Then, we see that God is present in all of our situations. Jeremiah 23:23-24 says, “Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth?”
There is no place or situation that we go through where God is not present. Job cried out to God over and over as God seemed so distant, even absent, from his situation. However, God was right there the entire time, with full sovereignty over all of his situations. God heard every word of Job and his friends, and eventually, God answered Job. Psalm 66:19 reinforces this, “But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer.” Thanks be to God for being in our trials with us and for hearing all of our prayers.
Next, we learn that God is good even in the trials and sufferings. Psalm 145:9 declares, “The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.” We also see that in all things and at all times, God can be trusted. Psalm 121:3 states, “He will not let your foot be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber.” God is good and He alone firmly keeps us in place. He never slumbers. Knowing God’s goodness and being able to trust Him teaches us how to rejoice in our sufferings. First Peter 1:6-7 says, “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” When we go through the fire we are able to rejoice when we remember God’s goodness and trustworthiness. As Christians living in the victory of Jesus, our trials result in praise, glory, and honor because we experience more of Jesus’ strength in our trials.
Finally, we learn that trials allow us to experience God in ways that we would not have known Him if we did not struggle. Therefore, the fiery trials are worth it.
In chapter 42 verse 5 Job declares to the Lord, “I had heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You.” Job knew God. He had heard of God. But, through his trials, He was able to experience God in the most real way he ever had. Nothing in his situation had changed, but he finally saw the God he had once only heard of. That is the truest victory— knowing God more intimately. His eyes of faith were opened through his trials.
As Christians, our eyes of faith are opened when we trust in Jesus and His work on the Cross. When we look at the cross we see victory. In the Cross, we have victory over our health. We have victory over our temptations. We have victory over losses. We have victory over our emotional state. We have victory over our relationship troubles. We have victory over every single situation that we cannot control. We are first and foremost victorious!
Romans 8:37-39 says, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
We are more than victoriously conquering all areas of our lives because Jesus already conquered them for us. Let us give thanks for the fact that we can victoriously live as more than conquerors in His victory! Let us give thanks in our trials as we remember that God is with us, God hears us, and God works on our behalf. Finally, praise be to God in our trials as He opens our eyes to see Him more clearly!
The doctor held one hand and the nurse held the other, he looked me straight in my eyes and said, "It's not a cyst. I'm very concerned and you should be, too. “
A few days later, I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer.
As I cried, I asked my husband, "If I'm not here to take care of my kids, who is going to fill the void of their mother?" "You are,” he replied.
And with those words it was settled within my spirit — I would live and continue to serve my family and I would let God fight this battle.
The tears still came and I still prayed to be removed from the nightmare, but Jesus chose to bring peace in the midst of the storm—requiring me to be still, faithful, and trust in the promises of His Word.
I searched scripture for every life-promising truth and I began to pray His promises from His Word and asked for a miracle.
God was more gracious and merciful than I could have ever imagined.
After only 4 treatments of chemotherapy and a lumpectomy, the MRI and lab tests revealed no microscopic disease...not even one tiny cell.
Doctors remarked they did not have an explanation for what had happened.
But I did - I had been completely healed!
Without a doubt, God was faithful to His promises from His Word, which were the foundation of my prayers during treatments.
I not only learned to trust God through my journey with breast cancer, but I also learned a few lessons that help when life gets a little messy.
1. Let go — It probably wasn’t important anyway
Cancer has a way of rearranging your priorities. You learn to give up control, lighten up and enjoy each moment as it happens. We spend too much energy on the unimportant — let go of petty arguments, stop worrying if the kitchen will get clean before bedtime, or if there are muddy shoes by the door. Happiness, bedtime stories, and dancing in the rain are way more important.
An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up. Proverbs 12:25 NIV
2. It’s OK to cry
Whether it is a cancer diagnosis, loss of a loved one, or other heartbreaking time in life, it’s ok to cry — it’s an important part of healing.
I was unable to grieve during treatments, but once the dust settled, I was in full grieving mode. I cried and grieved the loss of the old me and I healed.
A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance. Ecclesiastes 3:4
3. Laugh — A lot and often
Having cancer, or any other hardship, doesn’t cause life to happen in a vacuum. Life is full of tears and laughter.
With too many days filled with tears, stress, and worry, when you get the chance to laugh—laugh loud and hard!
A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones.
Proverbs 17:22 NKJV
4. Take a glance back — The past is a promise
Although God has new plans for our future, there are times when we need to be reminded of the the trials God has already brought us through. Remembering His faithfulness of the past is a promise that He will see us through future hard times.
I look back every now and then…but only for a reminding glance and then I keep moving forward.
In the future your children will ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ Then you can tell them, ‘They remind us…’ Joshua 4: 6-7 NLT
5. Pray Specifically — Use His Word
Don’t be afraid to ask God for exactly what you need — pray specific scriptures from His Word. He promises to give us whatever we ask of Him.
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7 ESV
6. God is faithful
God’s Word is unchanging and His promises are everlasting. God asks for our faith, believing in the promises of His Word, and in turn He vows to be faithful to us. Even when the circumstances keep us from seeing Him and we struggle to believe, God is faithful.
If we are faithless, He remains faithful—for He cannot deny Himself. 2 Timothy 2:3 ESV
Being diagnosed with cancer is not the only circumstance of life in which faith is tested. That is why I share my story. In doing so, I hope you will find peace knowing your journey may look different, but it is the same God with the same promises that brought me a miraculous healing, journeying with you along your path.
Through her experience as a former military spouse, current pastor's wife, women's ministry leader, empty nest mother of two, and a breast cancer survivor, Stephanie K. Adams has had many opportunities to encourage other women in the daily demands of motherhood, marriage, and when facing difficult circumstances through personal mentoring, writing, and speaking.
After her diagnosis of an aggressive breast cancer, Stephanie began writing about her faith journey through treatments, and ultimately, God's miraculous healing. Stephanie still shares God's faithfulness through her blog, R.E.A.L. Women, where she uses God's Word to build Relationships with other women through Encouragement, Accountability, and Love.
Stephanie has been a featured writer at Chosen and Crowned Ministries, Sweet to the Soul, and Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation. She is also a contributing writer for LifeNotes Cafe.
You can read Stephanie's blog at www.StephanieKAdams.com
Her favorite song/hymn? It Is Well by Horatio Spafford
When Rebecca approached me about this month’s blog topic, I was a little apprehensive. If you’ve been reading, you know we are focusing on gratitude. But specifically, telling what it means to have gratitude in the season of life we are in right now.
If you read my last blog you may remember that right now I’m finding myself in a season of uncertainty. From my vantage point in this moment, the future is a mystery, and I’m learning slowly but surely to let God pry my gripping fingers from my plans and expectations and give them over to Him completely. I’m learning to trust. In a season like this, gratitude isn’t the first word I wake up thinking about every day… so to be honest, I had to do a little digging.
Cue the Google search.
“Examples of gratitude in the Bible.” Boom. In the list of search results, my eye found Ephesians 1:16. Sure, I’ll start there. Ephesians has been one of my favorite books of the Bible since high school so this could be good, right?
Ephesians 1:16 is part of the introduction in Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus. It says, “I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.”
My reaction was, “Ehhh. I can do better than that.” So I continued my search. Twenty minutes later, I was a page and a half into my journal, pouring out my heart because Ephesians 1:16 was, indeed, for me. That one verse—one statement—two actions linked by one comma—challenged me in a way I didn’t know I needed.
See, Paul is writing this letter to the church from a prison cell. Yes. Prison. That makes the first part of this verse difficult for me to wrap my mind around. “I have not stopped giving thanks for you.” Oh really, Paul? Because if I was spending my days and nights in a cold, damp, lonely hole I’m not sure that giving thanks would be the first thing on my to-do list.
Well, I guess that’s why Paul wrote somewhere between 10-14 books of the Bible and I didn’t. Because not only was he giving thanks, but he was doing it continuously. Without stopping. Paul was using every precious moment he had to give thanks for the church. He was consumed by gratitude.
How does that make you feel? Challenged? I hope so.
This season I’m walking through right now is full of doubt and uncertainty—things I spend most of my days worrying about, and wishing and even praying away. “Lord, give me clarity. Lord, show me my next steps. Lord, give me direction.” These have been my prayers. Taking my stress and anxiety and begging God to make sense of it for me.
But what if my dialogue changed? What if instead of asking, I began thanking?
“Thank you God, for this opportunity to trust You. Thank you God, for where You have placed me right now. Thank you God, for providing for me up to this point.” And what if I did it continuously? Without stopping? How would my walk, my day to day, change? How would my attitude toward others change? How would my perspective and expectations of my future change? When we consistently give thanks, we allow God to saturate us with gratitude, and this gratitude reaps love, hope, and trust.
So as I continue on this journey through the somewhat difficult season that I’m in, my goal is to have a heart full of gratitude, and let that gratitude find its way into every aspect of my life, ultimately allowing me to love, know, and trust Him more.