Sunday, April 17, 2011

When God Puts You in the Sidecar

My husband is a motorcycle enthusiast. So far he hasn’t gone out and bought one, but whenever he likes one he sees on the road he’ll point it out and say, “Nice bike,” then look at me to gauge my reaction. We were sitting at a stoplight not long ago and a shiny motorcycle pulled up beside us. It had a sidecar attached.

“There you go,” Spence said.

I laughed, imagining what it would be like to ride in such a little appendage. “I think I’d rather be on the bike with you,” I said, “or better yet, on one of my own.” Sidecars are for kids, I thought. You don’t have any control in a sidecar; you just have to hang on and try to enjoy the ride.

But now it seems God has put me in a sidecar for a time. I’ve just been diagnosed with cancer and suddenly my life is not mine to control. Doctors are telling me what will happen, when and where I will go. I don’t really want to experience any of what they’re telling me I will go through. But I have no choice. All I can do is hang on and find ways to cope with the ride.

In the book of John, Jesus tells the apostle Peter about a time when the same thing would happen to him. “I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!” (John 21:18-19)

I don’t know exactly what lies ahead for me. I’m hopeful that this cancer can be eradicated and I’ll go on with my life, publish my next book and continue to enjoy all the blessings God has showered on me for so long. I’m praying my time in the sidecar will be short. But perhaps God has another plan. In the meantime, I take encouragement from those few words, “by which Peter would glorify God.” What happened to him was not in vain. It had a purpose. The events of our lives all have purpose and are meant to bring glory to God. We have agency in that, by his grace and mercy – we can choose to hunker down and cling to the sidecar in fear, or we can sit tall and trust the driver.

Perhaps God will give me the privilege of bringing Him glory through words of encouragement to others going through this same journey. Perhaps He’ll even allow me to continue to write about it. Or perhaps it will just be Him and me. That will be enough. Jesus is always enough.

And I’m spurred on too, by the next words Jesus spoke. “Follow me!” That’s a path Peter tried hard to take, one that changed him into a man of God, a leader of men. It’s a path that leads to “a spacious place,” (Ps. 18:19), where God’s presence is evident, to the joy that comes in understanding God’s undying love and the peace that makes us lean into the wind and relish every moment on this earth – even moments in the sidecar.

“but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me” (Psalm 18:18-19).


Cathy Gohlke said...

Thank you for sharing the beginning of this journey, Marcia. Your words hit home. May God bless and keep you and hold you and your husband very close throughout these days. Prayers for you!

She Wrote said...

Hold fast, keep faith and trust your future will be bright. Courage and commitment will get you and your family through.

Glenna Fairbanks

Normandie Fischer said...

Lord, we thank You for Marcia's heart. We stand with her as she stares at the towering Red Sea, knowing You can carry her across and through it. Bless her, Lord, and be for her Jehovah Rapha, her Healer, Jehovah Nissi, the One Who fights her battles, and Jehovah Shalom, her Peace.


Nicole said...

Marci, words don't cut it. Prayers cut through it. You have mine. In the Name of Jesus. Thank you for who you are.

Marti Pieper said...

Sometimes our stories take unexpected turns. Our family has had more than one of those this year--including my dad's cancer surgery and treatment.

I'm thankful your time in the sidecar will be spent holding onto the One who loves most, knows best, and promises to keep you secure. Praying for you as He brings you into that spacious place. And thank you for sharing so faithfully of His delight.

Ane Mulligan said...

Marcia, God often stirs our nests, like the eagle stirs its nestlings, to move us forward, at the same time protecting us.

Please know I'm praying for you and believing Jehovah-Rapha, the Lord who heals, will heal you, chasing every cancer cell out of your body. He is able.

Do follow doctor's orders, give yourself time and the permission to rest, always resting in Him. Lean on El Shaddai's strength.

Martha W. Rogers said...

Praying for you, Marcia. I've been down this road and know the concerns of your heart, but we know the great Physician,and His plans are always for our good. Trust in Him and listen to His word or you at this time. Mine was Philippians 4:6-7. May your road be smooth before you with only a little bump or two as you travel.

Lyndieb said...

Dear Marcia, I'll be praying for you. You have a great outlook and you can make through the unendurable. It is a path I traveled 8 years ago. Here were the 2 passages that meant the most to me through that year.

Jeremiah 29:11
1 Cor. 1:4-12

Lori Benton said...

Marcia, I've been in that particular sidecar. Praying that the ride is short and not too bumpy... and that knowing He is in driver's seat brings you the peace that passes understanding, and the grace you need to trust Him, moment by moment. Please email if ever you want to.


Shirl said...

Marcia, I'm so sorry. I too have ridden in this sidecar--nearly 14 years ago. It's not a fun ride, but PTL you know the Driver, and He's done the route so often.

Praying hard.
Tight hugs - and keep us posted!

Shirl said...

Martha - If you see this, please email me at shirley (at) shirleycorder (dot) com. If anyone else knows Martha's email address please would you pass on this message? Thanks.


Bert Johnston said...

I've not been in this sidecar, Martha, but I've known some bumpy roads. Hang in there. Iknow your faith will see you through. May you see sunlight at the end of the journey.

Marcia said...

Thank you all for the well wishes and prayers. I'll be blogging on this journey at if you wish to be updated.