I thought I knew faith. Thought I believed in miracles. But, I never knew what that truly meant, until I was tested.

The Lord will fight for you.

Part of this story isn’t really mine to tell. It’s our daughter’s. She’s the one who lived through it. We were with her, of course, doing all we could, but the fight itself was hers. And God’s.

Emma was 17 when she was diagnosed with stage four cancer in the spring of 2016. We weren’t expecting the diagnosis. No parent ever is. It came nonetheless.

For Em, it was almost a relief. She’d been sick for nearly a year without any real answers. I think, finally knowing brought her peace. She knew what she was facing and could confront it head-on.

And she did. The morning after receiving her diagnosis, she went into surgery to be fitted with her port, and that evening, she began her first round of chemo.

Emma moved into acceptance quickly. She trusted that God had a purpose for her, and even though she didn’t fully understand it, she knew she had no choice but to move through it.

It was that acceptance that gave her the strength to push through the treatments, side effects, and pain that was to come. She didn’t feel sorry for herself, or question the why of it all. For her, the answers weren’t necessary. Instead, she focused on the path ahead, as hard as she knew it would be, and the things she could control.

JN Fenwick (© 2023) | mothjournal14 | Images are from Pinterest and my own collection | Credit to the photographers | Music: Epic Trailer from Energy Sound, Royalty Free

You need only to be still.

From the beginning, her attitude was positive. She had faith, that with God’s help, she would win the fight, one way or another. She wasn’t wrong.

The miracle came early on. Within the first few treatments, her prognosis was extraordinary. Emma’s resolve grew stronger with each step, and the cancer grew weaker and weaker until it was completely gone.

That was eight years ago.

Today, Emma is healthy and whole. At almost 25, she is so much stronger and wiser than I was at her age. She doesn’t dwell on the past. She accepts what she went through, but it doesn’t define her. Her focus is not on what lies behind her, but on what exists within her.

We were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God, 2 Corinthians 1:8-9. | Image from Shutterstock | Licensed for use

God has a purpose for everything He allows.

Only now, after all this time has passed, do I finally understand God’s purpose in all of it. God was reaching out to me through Emma. The power of surrender and the miracle of faith I witnessed in her were the things God wanted me to see.

At the time though, I couldn’t get past the illness threatening my daughter long enough to hear Him. I wanted to know why. I wanted to take it from her. I was afraid and to be honest, angry. I couldn’t see past my own struggles. Fear blinded me to the higher purpose unfolding right in front of me.

More than that, by allowing despair to overpower me, I was letting Emma down. My lack of faith prevented me from being there for her when she needed me most. My selfish desire for control clouded my judgment and vision.

What I failed to understand then, is the same thing I’d failed to acknowledge the majority of my life. I was not in control. I never had been.

I asked God for answers, rather than trusting His plan. I prayed for Emma to be spared from suffering, rather than trusting His purpose. My prayers went unanswered, not because God wasn’t listening, but because I was asking for the wrong things.

I stood in my own way. Not only that, I stood in God’s way too. And I let the people who needed me most down again and again.

Without hope I was weak. Without acceptance I struggled and stumbled. Without faith I was blind.

Though I didn’t know it at the time, I understand now that God was using Emma to prepare me for the storm I would face barely a year after bringing her home.

Through her, He was showing me exactly what it means to surrender. He was teaching me how powerful faith is and how trusting we are called to be. Because, just as surely as He authored the plans for Emma’s life, He knew exactly what lay ahead of me.

And when my struggle came, I would finally hear what He’d been trying to tell me during her illness, “This struggle is not yours. It is hers. You cannot take it from her. This battle is not hers. It is Mine. Have faith and trust Me, I have her.”

Image from Adobe Stock Images | Licensed for use

God’s Word reveals that He is worthy of our trust even in the midst of our pain.

Scripture reveals both the source of our tribulation and the source of our salvation.

There is suffering and death in the world because evil exists within it. God did not create evil. The entirety of creation is an extension of God’s perfect love.

God’s love transcends our human understanding. We can never truly know the mind of God, for He is omnipotent and His ways are beyond our limited comprehension.

Thus, only God knows the whys of His creation. What we can know is provided in scripture. Creation was an intentional act and God has a purpose for it. Moreover, we can be assured that His purpose is being accomplished even now

So if God did not create evil, how did it come to exist? The Bible explains this as well. Evil came into the world through jealousy, disdain, and rebellion against God.

Satan, envious of God, seceded from heaven. He, and those that followed him were banished from heaven never to return. They are forever separated from God. Because they understand their eternal fate, they try to drag down as many souls as possible with them.

Through their actions, suffering, tribulation, and death entered the world. Still, Satin is not as powerful as God. He is not omnipotent and all-knowing as God is. He is deceitful, and conniving, and self-serving. But, we are assured that his darkness will never overpower God’s light.

We know this because God did not forsake His creation. Instead He sent us a Savior. “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” John | 3:16.

Through His suffering and death, Jesus bore the sins of mankind. Through His resurrection, He conquered the eternal death that came into the world through Satan’s fall from grace.

Image from Adobe Stock Images | Licensed for use

God uses our suffering to teach us powerful lessons and to accomplish His will.

In my own walk of faith, I have come to understand that the suffering I’ve endured, and will continue to endure in this life, is not a result of God departing from me, but because I turned my back on Him.

My suffering does not come from God. It is a result of my own fall from grace, the consequence of my sins against God.

My suffering is not without purpose. God uses these circumstances to teach me and to open my mind and heart to His will.

The trials and tribulations I am called to endure prepare me for the life to come. They draw me closer to God. It is through suffering that I learn to depend on God and to trust His plans and purpose for my life.

Witnessing my daughter’s battle with cancer was no different. Though the struggle was hers, my own faith was being tested. During the test, I failed to grasp the significance of the moment.

When the miracle of her complete healing came, I was grateful and overjoyed, as we all were. Yet, I still did not see the door God had plainly opened in front of me.

The mountain standing in my way blocked my vision. And I continued to suffer in its shadow. Once again, I turned my back on God and yet once again, He waited patiently for me.

When the time came, and I finally did begin my own steep climb up that mountain, He was there. And all the times He’d reached out to me and all the ways He’d tried to teach me became clear.

With God, nothing is impossible. I am now living the truth of His divine purpose. And though I will continue to face hardships and struggle in this world, I trust in the power of His grace and love and in His promise of eternity.

And so rather than praying for answers, today I pray for patience and endurance.


And so Lord, we humbly pray,

For eyes that see.

For ears that hear.

For a heart that is open.

For a spirit that is willing.

And for the courage to follow.

JN Fenwick (© 2023) | mothjournal14

%d bloggers like this: