At the beginning of this year I was diagnosed with bladder cancer. Being a female, non-smoker in my late thirties I'm completely outside the usual demographic for that diagnosis. The doctors themselves were shocked and perplexed.
As I began to let more and more people know I experienced great kindness. People wanted to help anyway they could. I was sent packages and messages from afar, and received hugs, prayers and hot meals from those nearby. I really felt the love.
Yet I noticed that often people couldn't sit with the news without offering to do something or offer a positive platitude for my relief. It made me aware of how uncomfortable we are looking misery straight in the face.
Yet, for most of us there has been or will be a time when misery's face cannot be turned away. The flowers have died, the phone calls have ceased, and all the promises of positive thinking have been left exposed. And, as we stare back at misery, alone, in silence, we know there's nothing more we can do.
For me, it is of untold comfort that the Bible does not avoid the reality of suffering. It is never glib or simplistic about why one suffers and another escapes. But always it is clear that God is the one in control.
The prophet Jeremiah knew God to be loving and willing to forgive whenever people turn to Him. And so he wrote during a terrible invasion of Israel: Because of the Lord's great love we are not cut off, for his mercies never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I don't know why God has chosen this path for me. But I know there is good purpose. And there is nothing more beautiful to me than knowing that God is faithful and willing to start afresh with each of us every new day no matter how far we wander from him.
The reason I know this is true is because of what Jesus did at the cross. He suffered and died to pay for the hardness of our hearts. Which means God no longer averts his face from me. I'm his child and he loves me dearly.
As I wait to have a biopsy next week that will tell us whether or not my treatment so far has eradicated the cancer, I fall on the truth that in Jesus, God's mercy is unceasing, it is strong and beautiful in the darkness and big enough to look trouble straight in the eye.
Verse: Lamentations 3:22-23 ...God's "mercies never fail. They are new every morning;"
Prayer: Dear God, thank you that there is hope in you in the very worst of times. Please help me to trust that you are strong and good and that my future with you is safe and secure.
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