Monday, June 23, 2014

The Best Way to Prepare

I'm getting ready for chemo  (or ch-eeemo as my one son likes to call it) again on Friday.  Right now that means a few different things.  I like the house basically clean and picked up so it doesn't bother me when I'm too tired to do much of anything.  We are looking at our children's activities for the next week to see what we can get them to ourselves and where we need help driving.  We are looking to see what days meals will be brought over and deciding if some freezer meals need to be made before Friday.  These are normal things for us again with chemo every three weeks.

It's different now from when I started this five years ago.  Then it was learning everything I could about side effects, the drugs I would be on, and figuring out ways to keep my children calm.  As time went on, learning about things didn't seem as important as prepping the family for the chemo time as well as making every bit of family time count.  All these ways were great ways for us to prepare for what was coming.  It all depended on what we needed.

No matter what we face we all will prepare in different ways.  Packing for vacations means some will wait until the last minute while others will spend weeks or months making sure everything is ready.  Getting ready for a surgery means some will research everything they can while others want to know as little as possible so they won't worry about the possible complications.  Preparing really depends on the person and what they need to succeed or feel comfortable.

Yet their are some things for which we will never be ready: the death of a parent, the diagnosis of a friend, the hurt from an argument, the diagnosis of cancer.  No matter how much we try to be ready for some things, we just can't do it.  It just seems like too much.

Yet, we are prepared for these things more than we might know.  As I was reading my Bible this morning, I was readying in Exodus about the defeat of the Amalekites.  This is the story where Moses kept his hands raised in a blessing over the Israelites.  As long as his hand were up, the Israelites were winning.  He couldn't keep this up on his own, so Aaron and hut brought him a stone to sit on and held up his hands.  After a long day of battle, the Israelites won.  

I've heard and read this story many times and have always loved the way God led friends to help Moses.  But that isn't what struck me today.  It was these words from Exodus 17: 9, 13-14.
Moses said to Joshua, "Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands."... So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword. Then the LORD said to Moses, "Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven."
This battle took place over 40 years before Joshua was going to be leader of the Israelites.  But this needed to be part of his training for all the battles that were to come when they were finally allowed to enter Israel.  Not only did God show everyone that Joshua would be a great leader, He also made sure that this event was written on a scroll for Joshua to hear and remember.  There was no way that Joshua could have prepared himself for what was to come, but God could.  And since God is all-knowing, He knew the absolute best way to prepare Joshua.  He does the same for us.

How do we know this?  We know because God has known us since before time began.  This is what he says in Psalm 139:15-16.
"My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.  When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.  All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."
 God knew everything that was going to happen to us before we were born, even before we were conceived.  He knows what will happen and He knows how to help us.  That help might come in the form of a lesson taught, words from a friend, or something read.  

But even more amazing is that help can come in ways that we just don't see and might never know about on this side of Heaven.  I had many car difficulties when I was in college.  One of my cars was totaled when a friend was driving it; in one of my cars the gas gauge wasn't working and we ran out of gas on a major highway; one of my cars was a lemon with a rebuilt engine that we sometimes had to leave running while we filled up with gas, and this same car broke an axle 10 miles out of town when it had just been fixed.  My brothers said after I had twins and we found out that they were autistic was that God gave me these car troubles to prepare me for the unexpected.  Maybe that is true, maybe not,  But through all those things God was preparing me to always trust in Him.  He truly means what He says in Jeremiah 29:11-13.

Whatever you are preparing for, prepare in the way that fits you best.  Just know that you have an amazing God who has already done so many things to help you, and will continue to do many more things for you in the future.