Sicks Pax

Update from Sara

Posted in Cancer,Coping with Cancer,Sara by sicks on February 15, 2008

I am enjoying days with zero responsibility at my parents’ house in Fredericksburg after surgery. What a weird experience compared to life at our house with 3 little kids. I am loving this opportunity to heal in peace and quiet. I am spending my days by reading and watching movies — how delightful!

At the same time, I sometimes feel like the character Much-Afraid in Hannah Hurnard’s “Hinds’ Feet on High Places.” On her journey to the heights, the Good Shepherd picks for her two companions: Sorrow and Suffering. She is bewildered by this and thinks he surely has made a mistake.

“I can’t go with them,” she gasped. “I can’t! I can’t! O my Lord Shepherd, why do you do this to me? How can I travel in their company? It is more than I can bear. You tell me that the mountain way itself is so steep and difficult that I cannot climb it alone. Then why, oh why, must you make Sorrow and Suffering my companions? Couldn’t you have given Joy and Peace to go with me, to strengthen me and encourage me on the difficult way? I never thought you would do this to me.”

I know some of you reading this believe that this cancer is not the will of God. That’s okay — we can disagree and still follow Christ together. I do not join you in that belief. I believe the Lord did allow this for a reason and I intend to learn from it. Through it all, he joins me in my grief, carries me and offers his presence and loving-kindness.

Staying with the theme from “Hinds’ Feet…”, I haven’t yet fully entered the suffering part of this journey with cancer, but I am now well-acquainted with sorrow. Like Much-Afraid, I also would prefer my companions Sorrow and Suffering to flee, yet I believe God has placed them by my side for a purpose. Thankfully, we are not alone. The great Jehovah, Almighty God, Creator of Heaven and Earth, Prince of Peace is with me. This fact makes all the difference. At the beginning of this journey a month ago, I was somewhat startled at verses that say, “Do not be afraid. I am with you.” I thought, “Don’t be afraid — are you kidding me?!” But I believe it is the second part of the verse that sheds light on the first part. The very God spoken of in Psalms 104 and at the end of the book of Job — it is he who walks alongside me and carries me.

Right now what God offers me is his presence. This is God’s A+++++++++++ gift and it is the absolute best that he could offer. I must admit that sometimes I look at that gift and say, “can you give me your presence AND the assurance of my healing?” I want them both at the same time. While I believe that he will very likely heal me using the incredible treatments available today, I long for his 100% assurance of healing as well. But the answer to that question will come later. Right now he offers his presence in the darkness.

Our pastor Tom Holliday recently preached that it is in the darkness that we see the face of God, rather than when we are in the palace. We think we can see him more in the palace. We’d much rather meet him there! But he is more visible to us when we are in darkness and need. Just yesterday, I was discouraged in the morning and asked if I could see God’s face. I received some surprise visitors, 3 very good friends who drove down to Fredericksburg to visit. After they left, my husband Chris surprised me with 3 dozen roses and a Valentine’s gift. I do believe that the Lord showed me his face yesterday in the faces of loved ones. I know he will continue to show me his face in a variety of ways.

Through this cancer ordeal, I have learned dependency on the Lord. I have never needed him like I do right now. I think of the song, “I Need Thee Every Hour,” and it rings true. This is a good place to be.

In Hurnard’s story, Much-Afraid eventually gets a new name. As for me, there are I feel my name is still Much-Afraid. But slowly, God is giving me a new name. Perhaps it is “God Confident” or “Christ is Sufficient” or “Follower of the King.” Whatever my name is to become, God is leading the way, one hour at a time, offering his most precious gift — his presence. For that, I am grateful.