As we age, we live long enough to see things that we never saw before. This means we see joy and we see pain. And we see them in many splendid variations.
Additionally, we see how others handle life’s events. A similar situation can happen to two people and their acceptance and handling of it is the opposite.
One might see dread, the other might see grace.
There are no one-size-fits-all answers to every life challenge.
There are choices we all have to make. And sometimes we might find ourselves in this scenario:
It’s a test we’d all like to pass, but none of us would ever want to take it.
The following story reminds me of this…
Good friend David Balentine sent an update from his friend, Laura, who’s been battling cancer for three long years. Just when you think you can’t go on, life piles one more seemingly unbearable thing in your path. And yet, Laura perseveres. Here she is, in her own words:
I am sad to report that yesterday my sweet mother-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer. At this point, we don’t have any further information. They will spend the next few weeks meeting with doctors, receiving more tests, and learning her treatment plan. In the meanwhile, I would ask that you please pray for wisdom for the doctors and strength for Bill and Judy (Bill, my father-in-law). Please also pray for my precious sister-in-law, Elise, who just had a baby a month ago and now is facing this. And finally, for my wonderful husband, Bill. I can’t imagine living with the reality of having a wife with metastatic breast cancer and a mother that has just been diagnosed. Please pray that the doctors will be given wisdom; that Judy’s cancer will be small and treatable; and for the peace of God to surround the entire family.
Today when I took Gracy to ballet, I ran into my friend Betsy that I hadn’t seen for a while. Betsy and I were talking and she said, “How’s Bill?” I told her about his mother’s cancer. I told her we would have to tell the children tonight. I told her about my new treatments in Nashville and the toll that takes on him. I told her about his job. I told her about how well he had done in his MBA program — all of his hard work and dedication. And I told her that the only thing he feels like he has to show from it right now is an added financial burden because the loan pay back started this month. And after I told her all of this, I felt nothing but overwhelmed.
I got in my car, drove to a spot in the ‘A’ parking lot of Briarwood that looks out over the mountains, and just began talking to God. I told God that I didn’t like it. I told God that I didn’t understand it. I told God that it was overwhelming, and hard, and sad and difficult. And then I told God, “But you give, and you take away and blessed be your name.” And then I praised God because although I don’t know how, and I don’t see why, I know that he has us in this place and that it is a good place. I know that He loves us so much. I know that the purpose of the fire is refinement. And I know He will give us the grace and mercy to face each day.
For me, that has probably been the best part of my cancer journey. It has brought my faith to a place that has transformed the ‘hard knocks’ of life into ‘soft bumps’. It’s not easy, it’s not fun, it’s not what I would choose, but I know that wherever I am, it is in that very place that He will meet me. And I praise him for that.
When I finished praying, I turned on the radio and Steve Brown was speaking. He read a letter from a girl that is going through some tough times. The letter read, “God doesn’t love me like I want to be loved, but He loves me well. And I hate it.” Steve Brown laughed, and I laughed too, because I understand that sentiment completely. However, I would have to say, God doesn’t love me like I want to be loved, but He loves me well, and I love it. I love the hope. I love the peace. I love the growth. I love the closeness. I love the place where I am. I love the journey God has me on. I am ready to be healed, but I wouldn’t trade these past 3 ½ years for anything. I would do them all over again to reap the rewards of fellowship with the Father. But it has taken me 3 ½ years to get to that place. It has taken a lot of tears, a lot of prayer, a lot of sadness, and a lot of hurt to see the deeply buried treasures.
But now, as they are starting to appear, wow!, what utter richness and beauty.
Judy has been walking with the Lord longer than I have. Her faith is incredible. Her belief is solid. And I know she will find this road filled with treasure. However, the diagnosis is new. The cut is deep. The pain is real. The questions are unanswered. So please pray that God will pour out his blessings on her, Bill, Elise, and Bill. Pray specifically that God’s glory will be greater than all of our pain. And pray that God will wrap his loving arms around this amazing family that loves me as if I were born into it.
For His Glory,