By Janet Chan
Like most of you, I've had the privilege of going through the All-Church Transition Study with my Branch. My initial thoughts were, "Okay, this will be good for the entire branch as we plan to transition from Pastor Cory to Pastor Rocky." Little did I know that the Lord had a plan for me personally in learning about being in community and trusting in Him.
On October 3rd, I got a message from my doctor that a CT scan had revealed a mass on my left lung and nodules on both lungs. Of course as I heard the news, I immediately went to a place of fear. I met with a pulmonologist, underwent more blood tests, and eventually endured a CT-guided needle biopsy of the mass on my lung to deduce whether or not it was cancerous.
The next day, I attended branch and shared my news with our members. As I was experiencing this trial, each of the lessons saw immediate application as I had little choice but to trust what God was doing in my life.
During this time, I learned about lamenting in community. At first, Chris and I only wanted to share the news with a close circle of friends, but then one of those friends told me that it was okay to share with everyone, not only to have more people praying, but also to have more folks on the journey with us. This ended up becoming an incredible blessing. I felt so loved by emails, hugs, texts, and Scripture. I shared my news with the STEMS moms, and as they prayed for me, I was so humbled to witness them surround and lay hands on me.
As I waited for the results, I learned that Chris would be unable to accompany me to my appointment to hear the results of the biopsy due to a pre-planned business trip,. I was again beginning to feel fearful. I desperately wanted Chris there with me and I felt that I couldn't handle hearing the news alone. Psalm 145:8 says, "You are merciful, Lord. You are kind and patient and always loving." In His mercy, my rheumatologist who knew about my mass called the day before Chris left on his business trip. She told me she had looked at my pathology report and saw no cancer! After hearing the news, I knew that I could face this without Chris. God had also provided two strong prayer warriors from our branch to accompany me to my doctor's appointment to hear the results of the biopsy. They stood in Chris' place. They asked questions and took notes as the doctor spoke to me. They fed me and we even celebrated with ice cream!!!
After walking through this trial, I have a few key takeaways. Firstly, I learned the value of community. I know our tendency is to keep things private, but I would say let the body of Christ minister to you and it will be such an incredible blessing, not only to you, but to others as well!!
I also learned about trusting in God. As I sat, prayed, and journaled, the overwhelming feeling I got was the Lord saying, "TRUST ME!!" Of course being human and frail, I struggled with that. I struggled with overwhelming feelings of fear, doubt, and loss of control. Psalm 16:8 says "I have set the Lord continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken." I just kept on repeating the statement, "I will not be shaken" especially as I was in the CT machine having a needle go into my lung. There were times I knew I didn't have God's perspective. I had to exercise my faith muscle and boy did it get stretched!! It's in the tough times that we get to see how dependent we really are on the Lord. It definitely helps to live out a life of faith daily so that we won't be paralyzed when life's challenges inevitably hit.
God revealed to me that although Chris is undoubtedly a rock in my life, But Jesus is The Rock and I need to keep my eyes on Him alone! Sometimes it's hard to have that perspective because God has placed wonderful people in our lives like our spouses, family, and good friends. God uses those folks in our lives so that we are not alone. But it was a good reminder for me to have the correct perspective of who God should be in my life.
As I reflect back, it was indeed a very challenging month as I waited upon the Lord. Pastor Dan had said that we want to rush through difficult things because we just want to get it over with and not be in pain. But I found that as I waited on the Lord, He revealed so much of my fragile heart and again reminded me to look to Him for everything I need.