I didn’t want to get up this morning. I was tired and my brain fuzzy, in the increasingly familiar hay fever way.
As I waited for the bath to run, I read a bit from the Bible, like normal. Today it was John 10.
I am the gate; all who enter through me will be saved. They will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
(John 10: 9-10)
Instantly my head felt clear and alert. I suddenly could understand much more clearly what Jesus is saying to us; not just intellectually, but spiritually too.
Jesus’ plan for us is to have life, and life to the full. The enemy (thief) wants to steal, kill or destroy that life which God has given us. There is a battle for our hearts, minds, bodies and spirits.
If we allow illness, bad relationships, past pain or fear to rule our lives then we are allowing some victory to the enemy; who, let’s be clear, is not a cute cartoon devil who pokes people with his trident, as our culture would have us believe.
I had cancer last year. I had chemo, surgery and then radiotherapy. Thanks to God and the medical profession, it is gone. It is my past. Yes, it has changed me physically, shaped my story and its after-effects will be felt for some time; but it does not have a hold over me. I will not let cancer dictate my future.
I have come to realise that many people who have had cancer and are now better, can struggle with a terrible fear of the cancer returning. Logically, this does make sense, because sometimes cancers do return. So I sympathise with them, because it is a horrible, life-altering or destroying disease.
But for myself, there is no fear of this cancer, or any other cancer. That does not mean that I am going to take up smoking or sunbeds, because of course we should all live reasonably healthily. But, the best explanation that I can think of for this is that God has set me free from fear of cancer. I know that he does not want me to live a fearful life, one where I worry about big or small bad things happening to me. I know this because he tells us not to be anxious so many times in the Bible. And because he loves me.
Someone at church told me that the enemy tried to destroy me with cancer, but he failed. God has the victory. Yes, this makes sense. God has a plan for my life, and he wanted me to win this battle. He knew that I would. I trusted him to fight it with me.
Jesus came to give me life to the full, so I am going to enjoy it.
He never promised us an easy life, far from it. He is the good Shepherd though, and he chose to lay down his life for us. To believers he speaks freedom not just from illness, but from the fear of illness. Freedom from the past, as well as from the mental or spiritual hold that past pain can hold over us. Claim that freedom, it’s a gift.
(Note: I know that one day I will die of something. But that is also OK, because I know where I am going.)
So if the Son sets you free you, will be free indeed.