This is only a test...

"He plays games — but not in order to entertain Himself. You can while away time in order to ward off boredom, but you cannot while away eternity. When I speak of God playing games, I do not mean it in the sense that Prof. Albert Einstein did, when he made his famous statement (In opposition to the Indeterminists) that, "I do not believe that God plays dice with the universe," in other words, that God is arbitrary. Of course he is right; God is not whimsical. I agree with Dr. Einstein that God does not play dice — but He does play games. Not games of chance, but games where effort and decency are rewarded, and where offenses against righteousness are punished.

David said (Psalm 2), though the kings of the nations plot and conspire, "He who dwells in the heavens shall laugh (or 'play'); the Lord will mock them." The laughter of God is no laughing matter. It entails the most serious theological issues and demands spiritual insight.

The game element enters as an emerging realization, when a pattern of justice begins to crystallize into a coherent structure from within the chaos of practical events. This awareness of a divine-moral pattern that over-lays our daily, petty, devious strategies, means that history is not completely caught up in causality; that economics and politics do not mean everything; that there is freedom and novelty and surprise and openness in life; that Marx was wrong, and Moses was right." ~ Rabbi Norman Lamm, from When God Plays Games

It is one of the double-edged swords of life that one must ask questions to find answers. Yesterday I was caught in a torrent of questions; they'd been collecting for months in the rain barrel of my brain, and the doctor tipped the barrel with his sudden proclamation that cancer is not over and it is going to continue to interrupt and pierce my life and my heart. Questions like, "Why would God do this?", flowing into "Why would He allow it, then?", and finally, "Does He really ask me to accept this?" Sometimes it seems ridiculous to me that questions that have been answered a thousand times before rear their ugly heads again in the face of a new tragedy. (A thousand times I've failed, still Your mercy remains; and should I stumble again, still I'm caught in Your grace. Everlasting, Your light will shine when all else fades... Hillsong, From the Inside Out)

Cancer is a spiral staircase downward: on the outset it looks pretty dark down there, but the stairway seems short. With each turn in the staircase, you begin to realize that the stairs may stretch to infinity, and that you are going to be descending for a long time. But you still only see the stairs immediately in front of you. The grand scope of the climb is not visible or quantifiable. Yesterday I rounded another turn and discovered more stairs beneath me. With each new low, I hope and pray that I am at the bottom of this dungeon, with nowhere to go but up. Apparently not yet!

The answers came, deep in the night, surrounded by the sleeping breath of husband and children. Answers: you are not alone, murmurings that I need to go beyond survival, whispers of love and provision amongst the scatter and ruin of a few treasured - now shattered - dreams. I feel convicted to choose my words wisely as I share my weaknesses with my friends and family. To be transparent but mindful. After all, this is my trial, not yours. I pray I am faithful to learn and grow through it, rather than wallow in it's sorrow. That you see me changing and maturing through this, rather than disintegrating into pain and self-pity.