If this past year has taught me (the beginnings of) anything about a Christian’s growth towards God, it is that the process is one of the blacksmith’s forge. Our desires for change are like sketches of what we want God to do. But nine times out of ten, our steely hearts must feel the heat of difficulty and the sparks must fly for God to actually work the change we desire within us.
A Journey With Grace
If you yourself have not had a battle with cancer, you have a close relative or friend who has battled or is currently battling cancer. Cancer is an unfortunately frequent visitor in most homes across the United States. It is an indifferent enemy, picking and choosing its victims with a random strategy. At least, that’s how it feels. But don’t we believe in a Sovereign, All-Encompassing God who Transcends all creation? We do indeed.
I have not had cancer, but it has been a scourge in my family for many years so I know the pain it causes both in the physical suffering and the emotional pain, as well as the spiritual darkness that often comes with it. In the difficult time during a cancer diagnosis, knowing God as the Sustainer and Healer who is close to your side giving aid and grace in abundance, how much less of a burden life becomes! That’s not to say that we do not still struggle with our flesh and selfish desires. If anything, it will be a greater fight against those things as we journey through the valley. But God! He is greater than the world and has overcome it. So also, we can overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loves us.
In the Valley of the Shadow
Connie Dever was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in December of 2013. Her immediate reaction was one we can all relate to: “God, I can’t do this.” She was right of course, she couldn’t do it on her own. And therein lay the problem. Up until that point, Connie had lived as a self-sufficient, independent Christian. God got her attention in a very big way.
Connie quickly discovered that not only would cancer be a difficult path to walk physically (her body’s reactions to the radiation, iodine, treatments, medication, and removal of her thyroid were extreme and very difficult to cope with), it would be a journey of spiritual and emotional turmoil as well. In the midst of one of the greatest degrees of change one can have in their life, Connie turned to the Lord. And to writing.
One Woman’s Blog
Connie Dever blogged through her journey with cancer. Cancer by itself is a difficult road, but add spiritual turmoil and dark depression and you have the makings of a sad story. But Connie’s blog is not sad, and neither is her book. To say that Connie helps you see the bright light at the end of the tunnel is an understatement.
This book was such an encouragement to me. My grandmother passed away a year ago due to cancer, and it was one of the most difficult things our family has been through. But my grandmother had something in common with Connie: a hope in the One whose hand guided them through the valley of the shadow of death. While Connie does struggle back and forth with complete trust and faith in the Almighty God, we see the gradual growth she experiences through her treatments, appointments, quarantines, and various trials. Whether or not you have cancer, I am confident that any Believer will be able to relate to at least some portion of Connie’s story and struggles.
Naturally, there is no inappropriate or difficult content presented here. What a breath of fresh air!
The only consideration you should make when looking into reading this book is the formatting. Its written as 2 or 3 big chapters (around 75-100 pages) because it is a compilation of her blog posts from each day. This makes it a rather slow read at times. Unless you meticulously watch the dates at the beginning of each paragraph, you can easily get bogged down. I combated this issue by reading a few pages at a time. It meant it took me over a month to finish reading it, but I enjoyed it more that way. I also was able to stop and think about what she had written.
Speaking of, if you read this book, do take the time to stop and savor what Connie is writing about. There are some deep, rich theological and practical truths here. This book is a gold mine absolutely over-flowing with beautiful veins of the glory and kindness of God. Take your time and enjoy the view here!
To Read or Not to Read
While the format of this book perhaps means it is not written for everyone, it is nevertheless a book worthy of your time, attention, and effort. Connie Dever’s personal journey is an encouragement for the faint-hearted, and a challenge for those ready to trust their Lord in the midst of difficulties.
This book draws from a deep well of peace and hope found only in Christ our Savior, Advocate, High Priest, and Friend. Come friend, and partake!
Until the next book. 🙂
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