Cancer is insidious. It shows up and brings with it so many variables. Treatment, surgery, prevention, survival, so many things that are unknown. Sometimes it goes, but sometimes it stays lurking in the life of the patient and their loved ones. I have a friend who is in treatment for cancer. She is loved; loved by God, the apple of His eye, she is special to Him. Yet, she suffers, and we pray diligently for her body to be healed and whole again.
When I watch her I study her strength and the pervasive wisdom she eschews about this season of her life. The first time cancer was found she told me something I will never forget. Someone had asked her how she maintained her joy while she was “fighting for her life”. She told them that she was not fighting but that Jesus was fighting for her. She said that she doesn’t consider this her fight. It is what God has allowed and she believes in His plan and purpose. Her faith for the past two and a half years has made me so reflective about what my belief in God really means. I wonder if I could face treatments, pain, and bad news the way she has. My friend has had an extremely difficult time over the past nine months. She has fallen and broken some bones. She has endured more than one round of grueling chemotherapy. At one point, both she and her husband were hospitalized. Yet, every Sunday morning, that she is able, I see her in church. With the same fervency that I have always known her for, she worships God. Her voice is raised even when her body can’t stand. When I think of her, I think of this:
Giving no offence in anything, that the ministry be not blamed. But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflication, in necessities, in distresses, In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffeing, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armoour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left – 2Corinthians 6:4-7
It is not realisitic to believe that there is no suffering in Christ. Who would I be if I had no suffering in my life? Though what I have endured is not the same as my dear friend I know that God’s plan for me is perfect. Pain is not pleasant, it is not wanted, but it is part of life. Whatever the trials of our lives, God is still faithful, still omnipotent, still reigning and worthy of all of our praise.