A few weeks ago a friend was diagnosed with stage four cancer. She was devastated to hear this news and became sad and depressed.
After many more tests and appointments, she began to hope that with the right treatment, perhaps it wouldn’t be as bad as it sounded.
And then the other shoe dropped. Terminal. The prognosis is a few weeks, perhaps months.
This lady picked up the pieces of what life she has left and began preparing to die. Her affairs are in order and her family, while being heartbroken, is comfortingly close and supportive.
In conversation with her, I am overwhelmed by a sense of respect, admiration, and inspiration.
Her family, friends and church family are praying earnestly for a miracle.
As she faces her second chemo treatment today, which will hopefully prolong her life beyond the prognosis, I am praying for her, and hope whoever reads this, wherever in the world, will also offer prayer for this courageous lady.
I know of a few people who have been recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, including Alex Trebek, well known host of the TV game show, Jeopardy. This is a very frightening diagnosis and these people need our prayers. An extremely appropriate scripture appeared to me in my quiet time yesterday and I thought of all of these people. As much as it is possible for some, and to all others, happy Sunday.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified…for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV
She was stunningly beautiful with a healthy body, luxurious hair, a quick smile, and gentle, friendly manner. She worked where I did in 2005 and was always a pleasure to be around.
Then, in 2008, cancer struck. As it so often does, it played havoc with her life. A bony body, hairless head, and quietude were the new norm. It was almost as hard on those of us who worked with her as it was on her family to see this dramatic change in such a short time.
And then she died…at the tender age of fifty years. This vibrant, vivacious young woman was no longer with us. Her bright smile and happy face were now only a memory…a haunting, lovely memory.
My only consolation was that though cancer took her beautiful hair and body, God took her soul.
Sometimes I wish I had studied theology instead of bookkeeping. There are so many Bible stories that confuse me, like the one a friend reminded me of this morning… the biblical brothers, Cain and Abel in Genesis 4. These boys were the first fruits of Adam and Eve, their parents.
The scripture says the Lord looked with favor upon Abel but not on Cain, and this made Cain angry; angry enough to kill his brother. It was the first murder ever committed on earth.
My friend posed the question, “If God looked with favor upon Abel, why did God let Cain kill him?”
My question is, if God looks upon us with favor…and we’re told he does…why does he allow bad things to happen to good people?
We have a dear friend and church member whose cancer is spreading even though we took the advice of James 5:14 and had the elders pray over her and anoint her with oil. Instead of getting better, her condition deteriorated to the point where the cancer has reached her brain.
“The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” Psalms 119:130
I am a simple person, Lord, and need understanding of James 5:14; and while you are at it, what about Cain and Abel?
My best friend and her sister had never lived apart in their lives except for a brief period when one of them was first married. Their lives were intertwined through childhood, early adulthood, middle years and elder age.
Tanya died first in 2008 after a battle with lung cancer. She was seventy-one years old, and her passing had left her sister alone for the first time in her life.
In 2014 Virginia, in her seventy-fifth year, succumbed to life-threatening injuries after being struck by a bus one sunny September morning.
The “ladies”, as they were lovingly referred to by family and friends, were together once again as the urns containing their ashes sat side by side in the final home they had shared, awaiting an appropriate burial location to be mutually decided upon by the family.
It seems that whenever a rainbow was sighted after the ladies had left earth, it was a promising reminder that they were united again, because the rainbow is a sign of promise.
Their memorial was held just last week and they were interred together in their final resting place. It drizzled rain during the committal but when it was time to honor their lives with celebration, a beautiful double rainbow appeared in the heavens over the site.
What a wonderful sign of promise that my best friend and her sister will never be apart again.
The fourth prayer in Ten Prayers God Always Says Yes To is, “God, Get Me Through This Suffering.” Here is an excerpt from this chapter, I Can’t Take It Anymore:
Now, there are many kinds of suffering we have to get through in this world. Some suffering is big and some suffering is small. But every kind can be tortuous in its own way–from toothaches to kidney stones; from migraine headaches to bouts of depression; from frustration at work to anxiety at home; from the sad, deteriorating death of the elderly to the sudden, shocking death of the young; from the grief that every son goes through when his mother dies to the unspeakable agony of two parents mourning the loss of their child. God says yes to all who come to him for help and comfort when they are in the midst of such trials. Notice I did not say that he promises to stop the suffering, or prevent if from happening in the first place, or alleviate it in any way. This may be one of the biggest stumbling blocks to faith, but we have to face it, head-on: God allows a lot of terrible things to happen.
It has been my experience that crying out to God in the midst of hurt and suffering, (especially childbirth!) that strength and peace are the almost immediate relief. However, having said that, most of my suffering comes from watching the suffering of others. When I see people bearing unbearable pain, enduring endless rounds of chemotherapy and radiation before surgery can be performed, being housebound due to physical conditions beyond their control, or hear the dastardly news of someone being beheaded because of another’s beliefs…my cry is then, “God, get them through their suffering!” Does he say yes to these prayers also? I do hope so!
Tomorrow: Am I A Terrible Person?…God Forgive Me
“His name is Jason. He is fifteen years old and has been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor.”
This came through our prayer chain last night.
He is someone’s son, grandson, brother, nephew, friend…someone who needs our prayers. Jason.
I don’t know this boy, nor do most of you, but I do know that most of the people I do know, and the many bloggers I have met in the past few months are empathetic, compassionate, praying people.
His name is Jason. Please pray for him.
Thank you for reading and caring. Thank you for praying. His name is Jason.