Missing the Mark

Instant replay caused him to instantly recoil.

Ah, the director’s right! In that scene, he’d missed his mark. The taped “X” seemed to suddenly glow as he felt his face flush.

How could this have happened?

He knew. Although he’d rehearsed it a dozen times, he’d taken his eyes off the mark. He’d assumed his mind knew where to lead his feet. He was so confident, he never even looked.

Now the director needed to reshoot the entire scene, all because the lead actor missed his mark. He knew that the end result of not being completely on his mark meant the cameras couldn’t catch him in complete focus. The strength of the story might be lost. Not only the story lines blur but the actors themselves are often unseen or distorted.

Living as a Christian can be difficult, especially when we take our eyes off the mark: Jesus.  Lines of right and wrong can become blurred or distorted when we take our eyes off Christ. Hebrews 12:2 reminds us how to live life, with our eyes fixed on Jesus.

Thankfully God doesn’t record our errors so adamantly and rematch our actions so blatantly.  Unlike a TV director, He doesn’t often employ the instant replay either.

Instead of lashing out at His children He redeems what they’ve done.

Romans 8:28 promises us, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to 
His purpose.” (NIV)

He doesn’t need us to redo decisions in life to make everything turn out right. While we need to carefully consider our choices and fully expect consequences when we choose folly, God promises to weave good into everything, even the not-so-good things.

He doesn’t highlight when we missed the mark. Instead, He extends mercy and grace, and yes, even blesses our mess. He uses our choices to create a marvelous testimony that He indeed is Lord of all.

Victory From Defeat

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NIV)

On Wednesday, I shared my heart wrenching story of a failed reconstruction after Breast cancer. If you missed it, click here.

After my emergency surgery to remove the implant and flush my body with antibiotics, I really didn’t know what to think.

As a teen and young adult, I bought into the lie that I was not enough. That I would never be enough. The voices which whispered that lie were not limited to our culture, or my mind, but also came from real people. People who only valued certain physical attributes and held just one definition of beauty.

As I struggled with self-esteem and tried to reconcile my distorted perceptions of myself with who the Bible said I was in Christ, I knew I was somehow desperately missing a key component.

Laying in that hospital bed, awakening to the revelation that, like Humpty-Dumpty, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men, could not put Stefanie back together again, left me in a state of shock. I also felt utterly alone.

But, during that cancer journey I had built my faith. I learned to truly trust God.  I believed God had whispered I would be healed. That was in stark contrast to my physicians telling my husband to get help raising our three daughters. In 2008, they said I had less than a 10% chance of surviving past five years. I truly believed God could heal me. And, He did.

I knew the promise of Romans 8:28. I knew that even though I had a lifetime of struggle against this concept that I was dearly loved, God could somehow overturn that. Even if He allowed my body to be ravaged in the process. It was way beyond me. But, I believed He could bring something good from it. I just couldn’t picture how.

I cried. I cried over losing two years with my husband and my precious daughters. I cried that I would never, could never, now possibly, “measure up.”

And then, as the tears slowed and my voice stopped shaking, I resolutely prayed, “God, I don’t know how or when, but I know You will somehow, some way, redeem this. I trust You.”

I made up my mind to disallow feelings of insecurity or inferiority to steal any more of my life.

I had a family who needed me. I had a God who loved me, and because I was still here, I knew He had plans for me.

So, how has God worked through a failed surgery, and battled a lifetime of negative thinking?

He gave me a life I never knew, but so dearly love.

A life where I continuously take opportunity to spend time with God and realize His great love for me, a love no human could ever give.

And then, I enjoy the great pleasure of serving Him by serving my family and in ministry opportunities.

If you were to meet me in person, you would not guess I’m a cancer survivor. I’ve been told I look too young to have a daughter graduating high school next year. You would also note an enthusiasm for life.

That developed after that failed surgery. My faith deepened. My appreciation for each and every new day solidified.

Those few years of cancer treatment and recovery were some of the most difficult in my life. But, God did use them for good. Good in my life. Good in my family’s life. And, good for my faith, for developing a deep faith not threatened in times of worldly despair. Thank God He held me. Thank God I didn’t give up.

I firmly believe this world is difficult, even though, in fact, especially if, you are a Christian. It’s not a simple life guarantee. But, He does promise He will redeem whatever we endure. He will use it for good.  You might wonder at the onset; how could this ever turn out for good? Yet, He’s God. And He’s in the business of doing just that!

What at first appeared a devastating circumstance which held the potential to solidify personal despair and insecurity, turned into the key which changed how I do life, how I see life, and mostly importantly, the value which I see in my life through Christ. God did work all things, for good, even though it seemed impossible.