This article is archived. Some links and details throughout the article may no longer be active or accurate.
Elwin Ahu

How do you respond when you encounter the unexpected? Whether it’s the sudden, unforeseen loss of a family member, relational breakdown, financial setback or unanticipated health diagnosis, what’s your response when you come face to face with the realities of life?

The U.S. faced reality on Dec. 7, 1941, in response to Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Military practice maneuvers were no longer necessary. This was not a drill. War was real.

On Dec. 7, 2012, my reality propelled me into a battle of a different kind initiated by the surprise attack of cancer on every cell of my body. Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia declared war and drove me into a fight against the nausea of chemotherapy, the interruptions of multiple blood transfusions, piercing pain of bone biopsies, infections and fevers. My spiritual war was real.

Doubt created voids in my faith that I chose to fill with frustration. Night after night I protested against my Creator, projecting my fears on Him, albeit disguised as if I was truly seeking an answer: “Why must I suffer? What have I done to deserve this? Are you punishing me for my sins?”

And His reply was simple. While connected to tubes of antibiotics, blood transfusions and other medical “necessities,” I sensed the Holy Spirit say, “You’ve studied my Word and you’ve preached my Word; now you must live my Word.”

Anyone can read, study, sing and preach God’s Word. But, how many are able to truly live and trust in His Word, and to suffer while still standing on His Word in the face of reality and its unexpected battles we encounter every day?

In my “fiery trial” (1 Pet. 4:12, NKJV) that I battled every day, devotions were no longer just an exercise. The Scriptures ceased to be simply words on paper. Prayers became more than a reverent recitation of familiar phrases.

God’s Word empowered me to conquer my fight against all odds. His Word prompted me to stop focusing on my premises and to start believing in His promises. And as I lived out His promises in the midst of my problems, that’s when I experienced the miraculous: God’s peace amid the fire. “Though He slay me, yet I will trust Him” (Job 13:15).

And God did not disappoint. By His grace, today I am cancer free!

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7).

Life may be full of the unexpected, but don’t lose sight of God’s promises. Present all your requests and anxieties to God with thanksgiving—then live in the peace of His promises.

Prayer Points

  • When you encounter the unexpected and reality has declared war on your ministry, your family, your health or finances, pray that your focus will turn from your present premises to stand firm on His promises.
  • Pray through Philippians 4:6-7 in a slow, deliberate manner, presenting every issue, problem and even protest, to God, and leaving them at His feet, so that you can experience the peace of God—in the middle of your battlefield—and experience the miraculous against all odds.

Share your thoughts. See comments below, and add your own.

is the senior pastor of Metro Christian Church (Honolulu Metropolitan Foursquare Church) in Honolulu and serves on the board of directors for The Foursquare Church.