Until Zachary was diagnosed with cancer, our lives were for the most part rolling merrily along. Then the bottom dropped out and we found ourselves tumbling helplessly down a dark frightening path with little direction on which way to go. It was hard for me – and it still is today – to figure out why this horrible circumstance had to be part of the plan for our lives. What I have found is until I reach the Place “where all questions are answered”, asking why will do nothing but create an opportunity for me to become mired in a pit of quicksand filled with frustration and bitterness. So the question should not be why, but what. What is God going to teach me through this very difficult circumstance and how can I use it to make this world a better place?
There is no doubt that God has a master plan. The thing we have to remember is to slow down, give up control and give God the opportunity to speak to our hearts. His timing is perfect and his view is eternal. Things that make absolutely no sense to us in our earthly perspective make perfect sense when viewed with an eye on eternity. While none of us would have ever volunteered to be a part of the “cancer club,” it does provide us an opportunity to gain a level of appreciation for life and what comes after we leave this place, that we would never have understood had this disease not invaded our homes. With this understanding comes the opportunity and responsibility to share what we have gained with those around us.
I would like to share a special story that touched my heart deeply during Zachary’s battle. It alludes to one perspective on God’s plan for those who suffer while here on earth.
The Brave Little Soul
By: John Alessi
Not too long ago in Heaven there was a little soul who took wonder in observing the world. He especially enjoyed the love he saw there and often expressed this joy with God. One day however, the little soul was sad, for on this day he saw suffering in the world. He approached God and sadly asked, "Why do bad things happen, why is there suffering in the world?".
God paused for a moment and replied, "Little soul, do not be sad, for the suffering you see, unlocks the love in peoples hearts". The little soul was confused. "What do you mean", he asked. God replied, "Have you not noticed the goodness and love that is the offspring of that suffering? Look at how people come together, drop their differences, and show their love and compassion for those who suffer. All their other motivations disappear and they become motivated by love alone.
The little soul began to understand and listened attentively as God continued, "The suffering soul unlocks the love in people's hearts much like the sun and rain unlock the flower within the seed. I created everyone with endless love in their heart, but unfortunately most people keep it locked up and hardly share it with anyone. They are afraid to let their love shine freely, because they are afraid of being hurt. But a suffering soul unlocks that love. I tell you this-it is the greatest miracle of all. Many souls have bravely chosen to go into the world and suffer-to unlock this love-to create this miracle-for the good of all humanity.
Just then the little soul got a wonderful idea and could hardly contain himself. With his wings fluttering, bouncing up and down, the little soul excitedly replied, "I am brave; let me go! I would like to go into this world and suffer so that I can unlock the goodness and love in people's hearts! I want to create that miracle!
God smiled and said, "You are a brave soul I know, and thus I will grant your request. But even though you are very brave you will not be able to do this alone. I have known since the beginning of time that you would ask for this and so I have carefully selected many souls to care for you on your journey. Those souls will help you create your miracle; however they will also share in your suffering. Two of these souls are most special and will care for you, help you and suffer along with you, far beyond the others. They have already chosen a name for you.
God and the brave little soul shared a smile, and then embraced. In parting, God said, "Do not forget little soul that I will be with you always. Although you have agreed to bear the pain, you will do so through my strength. And if the time should come when you feel that you have suffered enough, just say the word, think the thought, and you will be healed.
Thus at that moment the brave little soul was born into the world, and through his suffering and God's strength he unlocked the goodness and love in people's hearts. For so many people dropped their differences and came together to show their love. Priorities became properly aligned. People gave from their hearts. Those that were always too busy found time. Many began new spiritual journeys-some regained lost faith-many came back to God. Parents hugged their children tighter. Friends and family grew closer. Old friends got together and new friendships were made. Distant family reunited, and every family spent more time together. Everyone prayed. Peace and love reigned. Lives were changed forever. It was good. The world was a better place. The miracle had happened. God was pleased."
Believing in God's promises...
"...For I am the LORD who heals you." - Exodus 15:26
Dear friends, God has asked us to trust him and his plan for our lives even through the difficult times. Through his love and grace we can endure – strengthening our faith and gaining wisdom and joy we may have never known. In Jeremiah 29:11 God tells us,
“For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
And in 1 John 4:16, “We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in him. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.”
We are thankful we can send our love to you with these gifts each month. We hope they will be an encouragement to you and allow you to rest knowing God cares for you and holds you close each and every day.