Acute myeloid leukemia. This is what has recently invaded the body of 7 year old Natalie Chavarria.
It is basically a cancer that results in an unusual and rapid growth of white blood cells that form in the bone marrow and interfere and actually prevent the growth and spread of normal blood cells, to keep her little body healthy and safe. What causes AML can be anything from exposure to radiation, a rare blood disorder, or poor genetics. Regardless of how Natalie contracted AML, she has been attacked by a foreign enemy, and is fighting for her life. Literally.
I am reminded of the prophet Habakkuk in the Bible, who also was facing an attack from a foreign enemy. God had recently “used” the nation of Assyria to punish Israel for their sin and rebellion towards God, and He was about to “use” the wicked and evil nation of Babylon to destroy both Assyria and Judah. Habakkuk was the voice of one in the midst of these eras who had just one question for God… how can He use something wicked for His divine purposes?
Hear the description of the enemy that was to invade Judah:
“For behold, I am raising up the Chaldeans (Babylonians), that bitter and hasty nation, who march through the breadth of the earth, to seize dwellings not their own. They are dreaded and fearsome… their horses are swifter than leopards, more fierce than the evening wolves… they fly like an eagle swift to devour. They all come for violence, all their faces forward. They gather like captives like sand. They laugh at every fortress, for they pile up earth and take it.”
Sounds like cancer.
Words the Chavarria family aren’t only reading, but experiencing. Words many others are experiencing as well. Maybe even you. Facing what seems to be an unstoppable army in in the form of _________, seeking to rob you of your hope in Heaven, to blind you from the presence of Christ, and to kill the faith you have in the Faithful One.
Habakkuk, is not unlike us. Listen:
“O LORD, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you ‘Violence!’ and you will not save? Why do you idly look at wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted.” Habakkuk 1:2-4
“You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong, why do you idly look at traitors and remain silent when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he?” Habakkuk 1:13
Like many of us ask regarding Natalie, why, O LORD?
And the God of the universe, the God who continually proves Himself to be Sovereign and in control, responds to Habakkuk. He says to wonder, to wait, and to watch.
“Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told.” Habakkuk 1:5
Wonder- Be amazed at what I am about to do through this invasion.
“For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end-it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” Habakkuk 2:3
“I hear, and my body trembles; my lips quiver at the sound; rottenness enters into my bones; my legs tremble beneath me. Yet I will quietly wait…” Habakkuk 3:16a
Wait- Be patient knowing that faith increases in quality, assurance, and intensity the more it is exercised with tribulation. Faith is precious, and its trial is precious too. (Spurgeon)
“…for the day of trouble to come upon people who invade us.” Habakkuk 3:16b
“You marched through the earth in fury; You threshed the nations in anger. You went out for the salvation of your people, for the salvation of your anointed. You crushed the head of the house of the wicked, laying him bare from thigh to neck.” Habakkuk 3:12-13
“He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in Him.” Colossians 2:15
“And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever an ever.” Revelation 20:7-10
Watch- Be reminded that the invaders became the invaded through the cross of Christ. Babylon does not win. Assyria does not win. Satan does not win. And ultimately, neither does AML.
Only through the finished work of Jesus on the cross do we have hope in the midst of invasion. God does many things that we do not and honestly can not understand. Babylon to punish Israel? Natalie to endure chemotheraphy?
But one thing we do know is that not only is God Sovereign, God is good. He loves His people so much that He came to suffer not only with us, but for us. The road of suffering that Natalie is traveling, and the one you may be traveling as well, is not a new road. Jesus has gone before you, making a path, calling you to wonder, to wait, and to watch, as you pursue His presence, where you will find fullness of joy.
I’ll leave you with words not of my own, but those from the mouth of Natalie’s dad…
“Pray for a miracle healing and if that’s not in His will, for strength to get through it. Either way, pray that he will be glorified.” -Eddie Chavarria