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Faith: What if he doesn't get better; then what?

Have you ever felt like you were at the "top of your game," feeling fantastic, and then everything began to crumble? A professional golfer experienced that feeling. He had shoulder surgery, life was good, and then his shoulder pain returned. The ...

Have you ever felt like you were at the "top of your game," feeling fantastic, and then everything began to crumble?

A professional golfer experienced that feeling. He had shoulder surgery, life was good, and then his shoulder pain returned. The timing couldn't have been worse. He was playing his best golf!

He made the decision to see the doctor, and that began a turn of events that changed his life.

After his doctor visit he received a disturbing call. The doctor wanted to see him immediately. The golfer was scheduled to play in the PGA Championship Tournament, so he decided the doctor would have to wait. He would manage his pain by relying on medication and, most of all, prayer.

Once again he was at the top of his game. The good news - he won the tournament. But there was also bad news. His follow-up doctors appointment informed him that his biopsy revealed he had cancer.

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While enduring chemotherapy and praying at the same time, the thought crossed his mind, "What if he didn't get better, then what?" God answered his prayer by giving him a feeling of peace. His thoughts became positive. He knew he was in God's loving care, no matter what his circumstances were.

He made it through the physical challenges and the chemotherapy. Then he had another turn of events. He chose to change his life goals. He was able to continue the pro tour, although he shifted his focus from winning golf tournaments to helping people see that "God is there for them," every step of the way.

Almost a decade ago our church was praying for a young woman named Rachel. She had been through radical cancer surgery, and then she had to endure another type of major surgery. Rachel has a strong faith in God. Rachel knows who is holding her up every step of the way. Rachel knows who gives her the strength.

One of my favorite Bible verses is Nehemiah, chapter 8, verse 10. In that verse you will read the words, "... for the joy of the Lord is your strength." (NLT)

Many years ago another young woman also experienced God's strength. She was accepted into a well-known seminary. She was a minority. There were only two other woman also enrolled, and it seemed to bother the male classmates. She felt that the atmosphere at the seminary was not focused on building up her faith. She prayed, yet she still felt spiritually dried up.

She had a break from her classes, so she went home and turned to her father for advice. She asked him how she could possibly be strong in her resolve and stay focused in her theology since there were so many negatives she was facing at the seminary.

Her father took a pencil out of his pocket and placed it in the palm of his hand. He then asked her the question, "Can that pencil stand up by itself?"

She answered, "No." Her father then clenched the pencil in his hand and held it in an upright position.

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She said, "I see, you are now holding the pencil upright."

He then responded to his daughter, "Your life is like that pencil. But Jesus Christ is the One who can hold you."

As a reminder, the daughter took the pencil with her. She always had a pencil when she went to class.

Are you facing what seems to be overwhelming challenges, difficulties that don't seem to escape you, or they appear to be insurmountable? Remember, it is God who holds you in His hands.

And when the world seems out of control, remember, God also has the whole wide world in His hands. God is always in control. That's why God is called sovereign. God is the only One who has supreme power and authority.

It will be God's strength that holds you up and enables you to face anything that comes your way. Do you believe and trust that? It will make all the difference for you.

I've just shared three stories about people who knew in whom they could put their trust. The time will come when your ways and your strength will fail. Trust in another Bible verse: "Cast your cares upon the Lord and He will sustain you." Psalm 55, verse 22. (NIV)

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