(Cross-posted at For the Greater Glory)
As some of the readers of this blog know, I am a two-time cancer survivor. In my two battles my walk with faith has taken two dramatically different turns. During and after my first battle with cancer my faith was vibrant and I could even feel the closeness of my relationship with the LORD. During and after my second battle with cancer, my faith was weakened by insecurity, anger, bitterness, and pride. I was angry with God for allowing such terrible things to happen.
The reality of my situation was that an all-powerful God could relieve me of my pain, but because He chose to let me suffer, I abandoned the Christian lifestyle. I still believed God existed, but only in theory. I refused to believe He was a good God.
In the months to follow, I would engage in several forms of sin that would rack me with emptiness and guilt. Impurity, drinking, and general apathy towards moral behavior became something like an idol for me.
The Israelites may have raised a golden calf and praised it as the god who brought them out of Egypt, but I raised my own feelings, emotions, and ideas of what God should be like as a sort of golden calf. For the Israelites, the golden calf was something limited and shallow that they could use in order to contain God. If God was so good that His law would penetrate every aspect of our lives, then we are going to be accountable to change everything about us—even the things we’re rather He leave alone.
When I was worshipping my own idols, it was not really because I hated God, but because I feared having to love Him regardless of what happened to me. I was unsure that I could bear the weight of Christian responsibility as I had done once before. But after being diagnosed with cancer again, humility was an area of my life that I didn’t want to let God in. So I erected a golden calf of pride and bitterness that I worshipped in place of a God who wanted to change me into a more humble person who loves unconditionally.
As Jesus said . . . if we do not believe Moses, and the 10 Commandments he was given, then how are we to believe in Jesus? My path back to Christ was long and hard because I had to start at the beginning. I had to resurrect my faith, but build it in such a way that it would not be weak like before. I started by truly believing in one God and one God alone. I had to put behind the impurity, parties, and golden calf of pride and bitterness. It was only when I started to obey the first Commandment that I could obey the second, and so on until Christ was back in my heart.