Taking the Train: Cancer Experiences, Part 1


"Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you." (1 Peter 5:7 NKJV)

Many of the recent devotional publications through the Nugget have been focussing on the central themes of troubled times, trials, dealing with problems, going through life's valleys, etc. All of our lives we've heard sermons on how it is important to give our burdens to Jesus, to let Him carry us through. But just how, in the midst of heavy trials, can we achieve this?

A recent bad diagnosis has sent me sprawling through some very troubled waters, and this question has been haunting me. I know God will bring me through victorious. So why do I so often find myself so wrapped up in worry? Or discouragement? Or depression? Or self-pity? How can I truly give this (and any burden!) To God, and then NOT take it back?

God recently gave me a powerful illustration, one that has helped me tremendously over the past few days. My hope and prayer is that it will help you as well!

The story begins back in July. It was just three days before a pre-planned trip to visit my ailing mother-in-law that I saw my doctor for the grim diagnosis. I have breast cancer.

I was devastated, but one of the foremost things on my mind was not cancelling our trip. And so it was that we spent the next two weeks having a lovely time in Europe.

While there, we spent the first week taking public transit. We rented a car for the other week, however, and due to my husband's limited vision, I became the primary driver. It didn't take me long to identify some blatant differences between driving in North America, and driving in Europe!

The roads tend to be much more narrow and winding, for one thing. And the apparent lack of signs indicating street names becomes another obvious difference. Street signs are usually posted high up on the side of buildings, but they are never consistently in the same place and are thus, easily missed. Europeans also seem to love round-abouts. The various streets that take off from these round-abouts are usually well marked with the small towns or attractions you can find along them, but they are seldom marked with the name of the road. Naturally all of our directions involved road names, and thus, we were left with absolutely no clue which road to take!

We did have one good day with the car. We only got lost three times that day. Our average on every other day was 9 times. But then, who (besides the teenager in the back seat) was counting???

Another problem I ran into involved that fact that there is often very limited parking, and good parallel parking skills are a must. Unfortunately, I have never quite mastered that particular talent ...

Oh, there are also parking buildings. These tend to be underground and only accessible though the use of narrow, steep ramps littered with sharp turns and concrete posts ...

I must say that one of the things I discovered on this trip is that I am quite good at raising the "ire" of the European drivers, especially when I block traffic in my feeble attempts to maneuver the whole parking nightmare ...

Needless to say, the entire time we had the car was incredibly stressful for me.

The times we used public transit, however, were quite different. Whether on the tram, the bus, or the train, I could sit with my feet up, sipping a cool drink and chatting amiably with whoever was my seat companion. All I had to do was get on, and the vehicle would take me to my destination. No narrow roads, no traffic, no chances of getting lost, and certainly no parking nightmares!

Upon my return, the reality of the medical problems hit home, but as I have been pondering how to keep from letting the worry creep into my current situation, God reminded me that just like there were two ways to get around Europe -- Either I drive myself to ultimate stress, or I relax on the train -- life's problems also present us with two choices.

The first, of course, is to try to navigate them on my own. The only problem is, when I "drive" myself, I am constantly running into narrow roads, twists and turns, angry drivers, and narrow, steep parking garages. The stress will be incredibly high!

But there is another way. I can choose to "take the train"! In the same way that public transit bypasses any need to park, navigate traffic, and read invisible street signs, I can choose to let God carry me through my stress. I can choose to sit back and relax in His arms in the face of those unmarked roads. I can close our eyes to the honking of irate drivers. I can let Him worry about where we are going to park!

With my surgery date looming just days ahead, this imagery became incredibly helpful for me. Every time I was tempted to worry, I realized that I've just stepped "off the Train" before it has arrived at its final stop. I simply asked God to help me get back on, then I got myself seated comfortably in His arms. After all, I don't need to worry about this. I know my "Train" will arrive at the right station on time! Isn't God the "Train Driver"?

But wait a minute. Sure this makes you "feel good". But somehow the problems must be dealt with!

Friends, taking "the train" really DOES navigate the narrow streets and the parking! Every time I've managed to "stay on the train", whatever it was I've been tempted to worry about has simply fallen into place! The examples of this could fill a novel, and this devotional is already way too long, but the bottom line is this: Why should I worry? God has it all under control!

Friends, whatever it is you are facing today, will you get on the train with me? It really is far superior to trying to park in Europe, and it's guaranteed you won't get lost. Not even once!

Lyn Chaffart

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