My angel of a sister-in-law recently underwent a bilateral mastectomy. It came as a total, unexpected shock, more for my brother and his family, than for us, of course. A shock, nonetheless.
Life has a habit of throwing curveballs. A few days after hearing about my sister-in-law’s illness, Charis complained about “something painful” on the side of her neck. For a few days, she’d been saying she was tired, which is so unlike her. Now, this “something painful” was worrying her. Iain felt it and said it was a lump. I ran my fingers over it. It was the size of a large mothball.
That night, she slept with me, seeking shelter and reassurance in my embrace. She was too scared to name her fear, she confessed. If she named it, it could become real. All she said was that she wanted to live, and get married someday, and have children. I could not sleep. I didn’t know how to pray, let alone breathe.
Fear tracked its muddy footprints through my mind. The next morning, I was rostered for worship at church, and, as I was singing the song, Blessed Be the Name of the Lord, I had to restrain tears at the words of the song: “Blessed be Your name on the road marked with suffering, when there’s pain in the offering, blessed be Your Name.” This is the sacrifice of praise, I realised. “You give and take away. You give and take away. My heart will choose to say, Lord, blessed be Your name!” How can we serve Him and love Him only in good times and not bad?
Many of us sleepwalk through life, so caught up with the business of surviving, that we don’t really realise what’s important until it’s too late. For God to show us, through trouble, what is truly important, well, even in this, is God gracious.
Life can change at the snap of a finger! Just yesterday, I heard about a woman who, when the February earthquake struck, rushed back into her office building to grab her handbag. She never came out. All they found of her later was a severed arm with a handbag. That was how they managed to identify her. How can something so normal, so “every day” end so catastrophically?
First thing this morning, I rang the clinic to book an appointment for Charis. The doctor checked her out and diagnosed a viral infection that led to enlarged lymph nodes. If the two swollen lymph nodes subside into normality by next week, Charis won’t need any treatment. The relief that washed over us was so great, I wanted to hug Dr. Mann. Praise God for this good news!
With so much changing in the world today: the freedom rallies and revolutions in the Middle East and Africa; the earthquakes along the Pacific tectonic plate; the tsunamis, etc. I find myself thinking End Times all too frequently. 🙂 I suppose that it’s not a bad thing to be eternity-minded. It’s just that all of these events put mortality at the forefront of my mind.
I can’t get over how the thought of eternity puts everything into perspective…the way adjusting binoculars yields a clear sharp focus. Things that I considered minor catastrophes have turned out to be mere inconveniences. 🙂 And oh, the endless abundance of things to be grateful for! Terror and Trouble sure get one thinking!