My friend sat at her daughter’s bedside, holding her hand, whispering prayers as the daughter lay in the Intensive Care Unit. This young, single mother had just barely survived an automobile crash.
The man she hoped to build a life with did not.
Healing — of heart and body — have taken many prayers. For my friend, for her daughter and for the family of that young man.
Ten months ago tomorrow, this same friend sat at my bedside, holding my hand, offering prayers as I awaited surgery to remove a cancerous lump from my breast. Physical healing began that day, as doctors used skill to carve out the fast-growing tumor, to dislodge a lymph node. With the news that the cancer had not spread, that nothing had been left behind, I whispered thanksgiving.
A plan was made for radiation, medication, therapy, lifestyle adjustments……and the healing continues.
I leaned heavily on my Lord and Savior in the days and weeks that followed — lean on Him still — asking Him to help me understand and accept this new reality that has entered my life’s landscape.
As I lay on the hospital gurney receiving radiation, I felt blessed, because in the midst of my treatment and healing, I attended the funeral of woman who began her journey through cancer three years ago. She fought strong and hard, and today, she is a Survivor in eternity.
I cannot share my testimony of recovery and survival without thinking of all who bear wounds, who stand toe-to-toe with the trials of our earthly life and fight to survive, to recapture “normal”, or to accept that some things will never be the same.
Some of us receive a pink ribbon and a label — Survivor. And our bodies bear visible scars that mark the spot where healing began.
Others suffer with wounds that are deep, too deep for a surgeon’s scalpel. Healing may begin, only for the scabs to be ripped open by new hurts, new reasons to ask “Why?”
It has been that way for my friend. She has endured a husband’s betrayal, the loss of a ministry, the sudden death of a son-in-law, her own physical challenges, and now the trauma of her daughter’s injuries and dashed hopes.
And still my friend raises her hands in worship and I stand beside her, my own hands and heart lifted in praise to the Healer who walks with every wounded Survivor. We both bear scars, and we both smile through tears as we celebrate Our Father’s Goodness.
God does not promise a life free from pain, from loss. The truth is that nowhere in The Word does He say He “will not give us more than we can bear”. Often misquoted are these words from Paul:
“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” I Corinthians 10:13
On some days, He DOES give us more than we can bear. Who can learn that they have cancer and not grieve? Who can hold the hand of a heartbroken, wounded daughter and not cry out? Who can cradle a child who will never walk, sit unassisted, play basketball, drive a car because a virus invaded his body, and not plead for mercy? And who can bury a 25-year-old son and not question the One who holds life in His hand?
He hears and He grieves. Most importantly, He bears it with us and for us.
To you, Lord, I called;
to the Lord I cried for mercy:
“What is gained if I am silenced,
if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it proclaim your faithfulness?
Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me;
Lord, be my help.”
You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will praise you forever. Psalm 30:8-12
(This post first appeared as a guest blog at Life Beyond the Picket Fence.)
I swear girl…I thought I was safe from tears this morning, but nope…oh how they flow…I love your writing..and you…on June 16 of this year it was 20 years that I had colon cancer surg..I was going to have a big celebration but the time slipped by me…my celebration is life…more drama, more heart ache and more concern than I feel I should have…but as my mom always said, “You think you have problems, just look around the corner”, and “Give it to God” Have a blessed day…
I remember your cancer journey, Lila. I hope to hit that anniversary in 20 years. Grandma Eva was one wise woman….miss her!