Lord, The One You Love Is Sick…
On September 12th she endured life-threatening cancer surgery to remove a large aggressive tumor in her abdomen which involved her colon and was attached to several organs. We prayed with her and said good-bye to her at about 7:30 AM and waited through the long ordeal until her doctor came out to speak with us at about 1:30 AM that night. Sixteen hours of radical surgery…during which there were three times when the doctor felt they would be unable to proceed. But somehow…each time (grace of God, of course), he was able to find a way to go on. He told us that night that Tina would probably only have a ten percent chance of living a normal lifespan. She endured all of this in order to give herself the best possible chance of extended time with her daughter, 8, and her son, 4.
Eleven weeks later the cancer was back with a vengeance and with terrible pain. A tumor in her spine caused it to crack. She was back in the hospital. She knew the truth… before any tests were performed. After some radiation to try to relieve some of her pain, she came home under hospice care. Today she was transferred to the hospice facility. I visited with her yesterday. She asked me to pray that the herbal medicines she was taking might work. But she also told me she wanted me to conduct her funeral.
She is a child of God. She considers her two children and tells God it is not fair that she, who wanted nothing more than to be the best mother to her kids that she could, will not get to see them through. What would you tell her? She is not mean-spirited or bitter in any of her questions. But she is real…and she is urgent. We hope and pray for a miracle for her…but we plan for what we most fear. We believe…but, Lord, help our unbelief. We decorate for Christmas…but we’re haunted by a cemetery.
I don’t know what you’re going through…I don’t know what it is that makes you feel that God has set a bulls-eye on you and is shooting at you…BUT, it’s not true! Lazarus lay terminally ill, in spite of the great love Jesus had for him. And Lazarus died from his illness, in spite of the great love Jesus had for him. John the baptizer was beheaded in prison as a young man, while Jesus ministered upon the streets and lanes and fields of Palestine. His sudden and violent death didn’t mean Jesus didn’t love him.
I’m not wise enough to know what to tell Tina…or how to tell her. (I beg your prayers for all of us who attempt to help her any way we can.) But I know some things. I know that none of these tragedies…these terrors…that have come to stay in her young life are to be allowed to convince her that God is angry with her or that He doesn’t love her. As I write that, I feel the tension of it. It’s not very satisfying, I know. I expect Tina to tell me, “Well, you’re not very helpful.” But she doesn’t! She is patient under trial. She is kind to all who visit her. She burns with pain, but she is not consumed. Her faith will see her through. She will trust God with all her cares…the most precious of which are her dear children…yes, she will trust God to do what she cannot. And so will we.
PLEASE PRAY FOR TINA!