Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because god has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us. (Romans 4:3-5 NIV)
I talked to one of my best friends this afternoon. We’ve been friends for many years. Through thick and thin. Good times and Bad. Today I shared all the details of our jaunt across Kenya. Everything. All the laughter and tears, the bittersweet moments of holding broken children, the old friends and new, each road and what it was like this time, each church, each person…everything I could think of.
I told her how many people were praying for her even across the world…speaking life into her body, now wracked with cancer. She should have been with us, but instead was fighting the good fight. We didn’t talk much about the chemo or the pain or the loss of waist-length thick hair. We refuse to play into the hand of the enemy. No, we zoomed by it and spoke instead of what life will bring tomorrow, next week, months and years from now. Each word a dynamic press towards abundance.
I’ve been down this path before with a loved one. Yes, cancer demands our attention. It sucks the joy out of us and attempts to replace it with false bravado. But God. There is nothing false in Him. There is joy in the suffering. I breathe deeply and pull out the memories of a time gone past, looking them over one by one. God’s grace is sufficient for each of us to embrace and come out the victor. All those many years ago He sent His son to take the stripes & if you wipe away the tears to look closely you will find there are so many miracles woven through the fabric of anguish. So many moments God’s hands reach down to hold them up when we cannot, offering the tender care of a future, just as promised…a future and a hope. Divine marvels captured & clung to.
So we caught up on all the news of the past few weeks, giggling over the silliness of life and the people in ours. We made plans for our next conversation, our next visit & our next trip. We hugged as only old and dear friends can over a phone line. And I wept. For what she must endure. That I can’t be there for her. For how she will be changed. And yet God. Our amazing and wonderful creator. He will bring alongside her those that love beyond words, laugh through the tears and intercede with the Heavens…and with it healing.