I spent some sweet time yesterday with my friend Lisa. We laughed a lot--we always do--and cried a little while we discussed all things cancer. She pierced my heart when she confessed that she doesn't even know how to wrap her mind around what is happening to me, or what exactly to pray for when it comes to my sickness. I totally understand what she meant: It comes back to the crazy question that doesn't seem to have an answer: WHY?
I would be dishonest if I said that I haven't had moments of anger and great sadness. I have shaken my proverbial fist at God and wondered aloud if He made a big mistake. I have read and re-read Job's story of suffering, and tried to connect the parallel dots of our lives. I have asked my husband over and over again if he can maybe see a bigger picture that I can't (he doesn't) and asked my friends and family to plead with God for healing (they are).
I don't get it. I can't explain to my children, to my friends, or to anyone else why this terrible disease is invading my life because I don't know. I, too, am unable to wrap my mind around it or look far enough ahead to see what God might have in store.
But I told Lisa through my tears yesterday that I don't think that God is waiting on me to be able to explain Him. I think He only wants me to trust Him. Do I honestly think that my body was stricken with cancer when God was not looking? Of course not. Do I think He was surprised on February 17th when the doctor said to us, "There is a new tumor growing?" Nope. Do I feel forgotten and unloved? No way. My Lord's love letter to me says: "All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." (Psalm 139:16) He knew long, long ago that cancer would be part of my life. He knew that there would be a Chapter 2. He does not need my input, my advice, or my approval. He only wants my obedience.
In John chapter 9 we are told the story of the blind man. v.2: "The disciples asked him, 'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?'" That's the same question so many people are asking about me and my cancer: Why did this happen? And right there, in verse 3, is the answer we are all searching for. If you don't look carefully at Jesus' red words, you might miss it: "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life."
I am not under the illusion that my life is of any more value than any one else's. I don't think that I stand to lose more or that people would be any more affected by my sickness or even my death than any other cancer patient. Lots of women have ovarian cancer--statistically, my story is just another sad tale.
But I do think that God is continually at work all around us. As Christians, we easily grow complacent and are content to look for Him when the flowers bloom in the spring, when our bank accounts swell, or when we experience success. But we are truly thankful for food when we feel hungry. We don't give much thought to wellness until we are sick. We take for granted the roofs over our heads and the clothes on our back until we are poverty-stricken. We don't give much thought to the hope and the life we've been given until we are hopeless. Maybe, just maybe, while God works, His power will be much more evident against the backdrop that none of us expected--a healthy, happy, young woman with a family to raise.
I could (and probably will, at some point on this silly little blog) tell hundreds of stories of ways I have seen God work in the last three weeks. Some of them are specific answers to prayer, some of them are ways He has shown up where I didn't even know I needed Him. He has used people very close to me, and He has used absolute strangers to remind me of the very essence of the faith I stand on: He is good, and He does good.
Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee. Take my moments and my days, let them flow in ceaseless praise, let them flow in ceaseless praise.