I have a younger sister.
She’s beautiful, generous, hilarious, and has the best hair ever. That hair… really. She searches high and low for the perfect gifts for her friends, she rarely says “no” when it’s in her power to help, and she loves Jesus with everything that she has.
And her summer didn’t turn out like she thought it would.
In April, her six year old was diagnosed with cancer. A cancer that would require aggressive inpatient chemo for four straight months. A cancer that meant moving states to get closer to treatment and family. A cancer that required balancing hospital, work, and two other children at home on an amount of sleep that no one should ever have to survive on. A cancer that would challenge the comfort and stability of life that so many take for granted.
I’ll never forget the day she called me to tell me the news. I couldn’t stop crying, and she was on the other end of the line consoling me. Telling me that God is good. That’s just who she is.
Oh, she could have let things like fear, resentment, anger, exhaustion, and selfishness take over. And who would have blamed her, really? But every time I spoke with my sister, something completely counter-circumstantial came out of her mouth. Her response to the life that she never would have planned?
She praised God, and she served others.
She publicly shared her faith in bold ways, consistently taking the focus off of herself and instead pointing people to Jesus. She filled her mind with the truth of God’s Word, and gave thanks in trial after trial. Her countenance was one of joy, demonstrating her full trust in her powerful God. She sacrificially served in the hospital room day and night, and spent her rare free moments collecting dozens of gifts to encourage other pediatric cancer patients and their families.
She gave of herself over and over again, because as a servant of Christ, she knows that her life is meant to be given away.
Perhaps the most beautiful part of all of this? When I asked her if I could share her story with you all, her only request was, “Just make sure it’s not about me. Make it all about Jesus. Lift His name high.”
It’s not about me. Wow.
Esther, Chapter 1 tells a much different story. King Xerxes’ life was all about him.
“For a full 180 days he displayed the vast wealth of his kingdom and the splendor and glory of his majesty.” ~ Esther 1:4
And when all of Xerxes’ planning and power and confidence didn’t get him what he wanted?
“Then the king became furious and burned with anger.” ~ Esther 1:12
I get it.
I crave order. I like predictable. I love it when a good plan falls into place.
All of that feels safe in the moment. It feels responsible. In control. It doesn’t make me too uncomfortable, and it saves my reputation a whole lot of the time.
But what is my response when plans don’t go my way? Will I “praise God and serve others?” Or will I “become furious and burn with anger?”
The world will tell us that we deserve to hold onto fear, resentment, anger, exhaustion, and selfishness. It will tell us to fight for our comfort and our reputations. It will tell us to look out for ourselves and to elevate our “kingdoms” at any cost.
But as a servant of God, I’m called to a different standard. I’m called to embrace God’s sovereignty even in less than ideal circumstances. To be a light in a world that desperately needs to see Jesus. To lay down my life, so that my Savior’s name might be lifted high.
God, help me to focus on Truth instead of the trial.
Help me to give thanks instead of giving into fear.
Help me to choose joy instead of anger.
Help me to trust in Your power instead of my plan.
Help me to elevate Your name instead of my own.
Whenever someone tells my story… may they say that it was never about me, and all about Him.
“Not to us, LORD, not to us, but to your name be the glory…” ~ Psalm 115:1
At His feet,
*LET”S TALK: Are you currently walking through a trial that has challenged your response? How can you respond in a way that gives glory to God?