Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Unto the Gory of God!

A phone call...

... a trip to the hospital...

... tubes ... IVs ... prayers ...

"Joy runs deeper than despair." Corrie Ten Boom (A concentration camp survivor)

“See it is I who have created the smith who blows the fire of coals,
And produces a weapon fit for its purpose.” Isaiah 54:16

Most of you probably already know the news that my family received a week and a half ago.

My sister was diagnosed with cancer. She's only 23.

There is a 7 cm tumor located at the EG junction. The surgical procedure to remove this is very difficult and will take several hours. However, before that, the medical personnel have said that she will start chemotherapy and radiation therapy for several weeks before hand to destroy any micro cells that have spread to other areas.

She went to the hospital Friday and was in MICU for 5 days. Up until the Wednesday when they moved her out of MICU, I thought that we were going to lose her. Finally, after receiving the results of the PET scan and the biopsy, they determined that it was stage 3 and could hopefully be controlled with the chemo and radiation therapy and then surgery. It was a ray hope and an answer to prayer.

But if any of you have a family member who has gone through this, you know that it is almost easier to face death with peace, than to face the months of pain. Chemo and radiation wreak havoc on the body.

One night while we were at the hospital, I was sitting on the side of the bed with my arms wrapped around my sister and she was leaning back against me while I held her. Caitlin, who has always been able to out-muscle me in most physical tasks, leaned weakly against me, absolutely exhausted from a few short walks down the hallway. She was still in some pain from the Friday morning when they did laproscopic (sp?) surgery and the insertion of a feeding tube and port. Before we left that night, my mom, dad, brother, and I sang a hymn while we sat around her... It is so hard to watch someone you love hurt... but I know that this sickness is “not unto death.”

This is something my dad shared with me one morning before we left the house for the day: When Jesus heard about Lazarus he said, “This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified though it.”

That doesn’t mean that God caused this, nor does it mean that He doesn’t want healing. It is always God’s will to heal and I know that complete healing will come at some point, whether it is here on this earth or at the resurrection. But I know that this illness is not unto the death because we have already seen two miracles in the first week that have saved her life. However, if we, my family, chose to submit to the “Refiner’s fire,” then we will bring glory to God through our lives.

Comfort zones are places we all like to be, but we can all remember scenarios when we have been out of our comfort zones, either by choice, or by necessity. Sometimes I look back on my life and I see the divorce, the abuse, emotional struggles and spiritual questions that I have had, and other things, …. then this …. and I feel like the majority of my life has been lived outside of my “comfort zone” in the fiery trails of this world. . . But I wouldn’t choose to be anywhere else. Each breaking brings me nearer to the truth of the depths of God. I know my Father in heaven, and through these trials I have learned to trust Him. I can say, “though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” These trials, that seem to stretch me to my limits, have almost become the most comfortable place to be because I know that I’m in the palm of God’s hand, and He’s going to see me through. Though the pain may not be lessened, there is the hope of clear skies after the storm rolls away.

Through this, God is bringing relational healing to my family. We are pulling together to support my sister.

I hope that each of you will choose to trust God in the pain that you face and in the storms that you go through. May your trials become your comfort zones because you rest in the Gentle Hand of the LORD.