Connections 01.09.2022: God Is Still Delivering Us

Isaiah 43:1-11

I volunteer for the Jay’s HOPE Foundation, a nonprofit based in Macon, Georgia, that serves families battling childhood cancer. Through free family events, a weeklong summer camp, a grief retreat, care packages, gift cards for meals and gas, and much more, Jay’s HOPE offers support to families going through the darkest days. As I write this post, one family is awaiting results of a bone biopsy on their son’s hip. This eleven-year-old child has already been through cancer treatment and was in remission, but in the past couple of months he began struggling to walk due to intense pain. An MRI showed a large mass on his hip bone, and the biopsy was ordered to determine whether or not it’s cancerous. He is likely facing surgery and, if the mass is malignant, additional cancer treatments.

On December 12, the night before his biopsy, I got to see this young man and his family at the annual Jay’s HOPE Christmas party. “What time do you have to get up tomorrow?” I asked him. He smiled and said, “3:30 in the morning!” He handed his crutches to his dad and took a cup of hot chocolate from me. I could see the worry in his mom’s eyes, and his big brother stood at his side, carrying the bags of gifts that our community had donated.

I’m thinking of this boy and his family now as I read Isaiah’s glorious love song from God. Its verses are filled with promises of God’s assurances, comfort, presence, and love.

What is it like to walk the path of fear and uncertainty, where darkness reigns and any horrible thing is possible? How do you interpret God’s promises when the outcome isn’t what you want and seems to go against what God would want? What does it mean that God will be with you when you pass through the waters of childhood cancer or some other awful trauma?

I have been through some dark waters and felt inexplicable hope in spite of it all. And I’ve seen these childhood cancer families claim the promises of God as they watch their kids suffer. I don’t know how, but even on our worst days we can be assured that God is with us. No matter what happens, God will never leave us. We will not be consumed, for we belong to God.

Discussion

• What has been your darkest time? How did you manage your way through it?
• Have you known someone who has endured great suffering and still maintained their faith in God? How did they manage to believe in spite of their battle?
• Read this passage as God’s love song to you. How does it make you feel?
• What does it mean to you to not be overwhelmed, burned, or consumed by life’s trials—even when the outcomes are not what you hoped (see v. 2)?
• How can you build a stronger faith in God’s promises in spite of what the world tells you?

Kelley Land, a graduate of Mercer University, has been an assistant editor of Smyth & Helwys curriculum and books since 2001. In addition to this work, she is a freelance editor for other publishers and authors. She also regularly volunteers for Jay’s HOPE, a nonprofit serving families of children with cancer. Kelley enjoys spending time with her teenage daughters, Samantha and Natalie, her husband John, and the family’s two dachshund mix pups, Luke and Leia. She likes supporting community theater productions and is often found playing board games with a group of rowdy friends. She loves Marvel, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Doctor Who. And she writes middle grade and young adult fiction for the pure joy of it.

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