"Blessings are not safe for you to have until you are willing to serve God even without them. Otherwise, they will become pseudo-gods, ways of salvation, things you put your hope in instead of God" - Tim Keller

I've been settling into my cozy home in Seattle since leaving Salt Lake City. Many friends have helped with this transition, and I often find myself overcome, weepy over their kindnesses. How can I really express my thankfulness? I have decided one thing I can do; I mention each of them to my best friend, Jesus, each day as they come and go. Lord, thank you for the blessing of this dear one you have given me. How kind of you, Loving Father. Please, please enlarge their lives with your grace, truth, joy, health, provision and passion for you. May they know how much you love them, and may they rest in your love.

My pastor, Jonathan, has started a series of sermons on Job. How timely for me. Well, actually, all of us. We are all grappling with the issue of suffering, Satan and a Good God. I'd read the book of Job a few times, and more recently, listened my way through on my iPhone by my pillow in bed next to my bald and slightly chilly head. It a fairly hard book to listen to, but paints a realistic picture of what someone goes through while suffering...at least it resonates with me. 

I've had friends who wonder what I've done to bring on the cancer. I've had quiet, listening friends who wrestle with what God is up to, almost angry, and I have had many, many loving, kind friends who are truly God's hands, feet and heart, caring and providing in so many ways. They are showing me; God loves me, God loves me, God loves me, no matter what happens.

I've started a painting in response to the first chapters of Job, thinking how overwhelmed he must have been with his losses, even though he still trusted God. I want to show that in his hands. I'm also thinking of my headaches in Salt Lake City as I prepare and draw a light sketch on the canvas. I'm going to try to find my oils and lay down some color today. It will change and grow as the paint takes a bit of a life of its own. That always happens.

The quote above is a huge comfort to me, since I have, over the years, put people, money, things, ministry, art and of course, myself, in the place in my heart  where I hope, worship, seek salvation and comfort. I thought, before cancer, God and I were pretty tight, having been through a number of difficult situations including my daughter's brain tumor. However, we truly are going deeper still, and I am learning I need, want to, should love my God just for Him, no matter what He strips away from me. 

I might die sooner than some. But, I'll be happy knowing I have a few more idols gone from my heart when I meet God face to face. Even though I hate chemo and cancer,  and I enjoyed my hair, I have God more and more at the center of my worship. My hope is in Him.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13