SERENDIPITY FOR SATURDAY

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SOMETIMES, DARK DAYS CAN BE BRIGHT DAYS

E! News co-anchor Maria Menounos had been constantly by her mother’s side as she battles cancer. She watches as her mom bravely fights stage four brain cancer. It’s not easy seeing someone you love so dearly and deeply slowly wither away like a dying flower. But there was more coming Maria’s way.

She started experiencing dizziness, headaches, and slurred speech, she just knew she was facing something similar. So, her doctor ordered all the tests to see if she was having a slight stroke or the onset of some neurological disease. Then the shocking news came. Doctors discovered Maria had a brain tumor, too. Maria knew that bad news doesn’t mean God isn’t at work. In fact, it may be part of His work. That’s why she’s calling the whole situation a blessing!

Tests confirmed Maria was not crazy. Doctors found a golf ball-sized tumor in her brain. “I didn’t cry. I actually laughed,” she says of her reaction to the news. “It’s so surreal and crazy and unbelievable that my mom has a brain tumor – and now I have one too?” Maria immediately turned to the same doctor treating her mom for help, a renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Keith L. Black. Dr. Black performed a 7-hour surgery on Maria’s 39th birthday, removing 99.9 percent of the tumor, which was benign. “He said there’s a six to seven percent chance that we’ll see it come back,” Maria Menounos says. “But I’ll take those odds any day.”

Today, Maria still has trouble with balance, as well as some numbness in her face, but she’s getting stronger each day. And while her mother’s prognosis is nowhere near as good, Maria sees the silver lining in all of this. “I knew from the very beginning that this was a blessing, and this was a gift. I even knew it with my mom because it brought our whole family together,” she said. “I think that there have been a lot of beautiful things that have come even just from my mom’s illness.” Things like this can get you closer to God than you’ve ever been before.

It’s not been easy for Maria or her mom. But the experience, including Maria’s own health scare, is proof God can use even the worst things for good. “For me,” says Maria “I saw it as a huge blessing and a huge gift because I needed to change my life,” she said, shedding tears. “I’ve said it before, we’re caretakers as women, and we help everybody, and we put ourselves last always.” Maria says that for many people, don’t think that they – at least for Maria – realize they didn’t value themselves in a lot of ways. That’s what makes tests and trials really important lessons.

Maria is stepping down as co-anchor of E’s news program. Undoubtedly, she will spend time continuing to care for her mom, in addition to her own healing.

The support she’s received through the entire ordeal is yet another blessing Maria Menounos appreciates greatly. She wrote an emotional post on Instagram, where she thanked God and all her well-wishers, in addition to asking everyone to keep praying for her mom.

Believing in God does not guarantee an easy, worry-free life. But it does assure us we’ll never be alone. And God will always find a way to bring beauty out of the brokenness! God did not promise that our life would consist of smooth sailing, but He did promise a safe landing.

The Holy Bible gives us a lot of encouragement during times of trouble and turmoil. King David made it very clear when he said of His Shepherd, even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4). And later on, he declared: When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:17-18)

The Apostle Paul also expressed confidence by saying that we should rejoice when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.  And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.  And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love. (Romans 5:3-5) And later, Paul wrote this: Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (Romans 12:12)

And the Apostle Peter tells everyone: Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in His suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing His glory when it is revealed to all the world. (1 Peter 4:12-13) And further on he tells believers: And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. (1 Peter 5:10)

But it was the Apostle James who went out on the limb and challenged that when troubles of any kind come our way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For we know that when our faith is tested, our endurance has a chance to grow. So, let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. If we need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to us. He will not rebuke us for asking. But when we ask Him, be sure that our faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. (James 1:2-6).

James follows this by saying that God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward, they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him. As we learned from Maria, and now God’s spokesmen, that not all God’s blessings come during sunshine and beautiful weather. There are some that can only be experienced in times of darkness, violent storms, and chilling winds. All we have to do is look for the blessings, not the curses that come with it. – Dr. Robert R Seyda

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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