A Stroll At Leisure With God

Singular and Sovereign

Last night, as all of us were preparing to go to bed, I tasted it and smelled it—CANCER.

Recently, I have had two conversations relative to this subject. The first was with my mom and sis. I know they are both frustrated with me at times simply because it is just so difficult to find something I can eat.

This past week has been better because I have not had that cancer taste and smell. Good thing because Gladys from church made an awesome casserole along with peach cobbler that we have really enjoyed. Plus, last night, I enjoyed a couple of tamales that Athina and her family prepared last weekend. This is in addition to what Marilyn prepared for me—chicken salad on spinach. Last night, she cooked more for me. She is doing an awesome job.

Now, I am sure all of you who are reading this might be saying, “John, are you kidding me? You have indicated that you don’t have an appetite. Sounds as if you are eating like a high school football player. What gives?” Ha.

Well, I know it sounds rather contradictory, but when I have no issues, I am able to eat. I don’t eat a lot, but I eat.

The second conversation I had was with Becky. She is a good friend. I have known her since the day I started as pastor at First Southern. She and her husband Tim along with their daughter Lensey now live in North Carolina.

She was in town visiting her mom Pat this past week. I was trying to explain to her about the cancer taste and smell. Becky said, “I’ve heard it described as sort of metallic sensation. Is that right?”

“Yes! That is what it is like,” I answered.

But here is the point: last night, several days after my infusion and a good week where I was able to eat some good food, I had that cancer taste and smell. When that occurs, the Galloping Gourmet could prepare crème brulee (I don't even know what that is but it sounds exotic and delicious), and I would not be able to choke down one bite.

All of this is so WEIRD! This disease is strange. The second I feel as if I am starting to get on top of one thing or another, I find out the opposite.

Well, enough on that subject. I’m so thankful that Al is preaching for me today, because I know, as I deal with the cancer taste and smell, I just could not do it.

This is a hard go, but I know I am not the only person who has ever gone through anything.

In Professor Horner’s reading plan, I read Job 23. Here is his testimony in the course of his suffering:
““But he is singular and sovereign. Who can argue with him? He does what he wants, when he wants to. He’ll complete in detail what he’s decided about me, and whatever else he determines to do. Is it any wonder that I dread meeting him? Whenever I think about it, I get scared all over again. God makes my heart sink! God Almighty gives me the shudders! I’m completely in the dark, I can’t see my hand in front of my face” (Job 23:13-17, MSG).

I love the brutal honesty of these comments, don’t you? Here is a man dealing with God in a situation in which all of his senses and emotions have totally failed him. What to do? Job continues to praise God!

So, here is a crucial lesson about suffering: these trials remind us that the Lord is “singular and sovereign.” The NASB translation of that verse is: “He is unique and who can turn Him?” Or, how about the Amplified Bible? “But He is unchangeable, and who can turn Him? And what He wants to do, that He does.”

Even after all the stuff I’ve been through with cancer over the past five years, I still want to be in control. I continue to strive to know what is going on AND to get to the point where I can write things off, using phrases like, “Well, I am done with THAT” or “I am cured” or “I’m glad that is finished.”

All those phrases have a bad taste and smell in the mouth of the Lord!

Only He gets to make those kinds of comments. Only He is unique and sovereign. I’m just a weak and sick human being, a child of God born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus, but human nonetheless.

Lord, in the midst of all the ups and downs, ins and outs, tastes and smells and sounds and sights of cancer, You are singular and sovereign. I choose by grace through faith to continue to praise You and trust You. I love You, Jesus. Amen.

P. S. I’m going to find out what crème brulee is and try some today. How about that??
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