I sat in a recliner in a chemo-infusion room. I was sick and afraid. All of my life I felt like I was in control of my life but now... now it had spun out of control. Cancer. I had cancer and they tell me that even though they are pumping toxic chemicals into me, it might not be enough to kill this cancer, this demon loose inside of me.
I long for someone to talk to. I long to be able to freely express my fears and I long for hope. I remember flipping through television channels and I would see these ministers talking about healing and such but their glitzy surroundings seemed far away from my darkened room. It looks to me like it is easy for them to talk about healing. They're not sick or at least, they don't appear to be dying at the moment. I wonder... would if they were? Would they still say that Jesus heals? Would they still believe... even if they were sitting in the chair beside me?
I looked at the empty chair beside me and wished someone were there. I wished there was someone there whom I could talk to. Someone who could tell me that God loved me even though I was pretty awful looking. God loves me even if I am bald, sick and weak.
I wish there was someone sitting in that chair who could tell me that even as God has been with them in the Valley of the Shadow of Death, He can be with me also. Those other people, well, they just seem so far away from me but the person in the chair. They'd be just like me and if God can help them, He can surely help me too!
I wish there was someone sitting in that chair but the chair is empty. There is no one sitting next to me who also has a needle in their chest. There is no one who can look at me as the poison drips into their veins as well and say to me softly that yes, even in the Valley of the Shadow of Death... God has not forgotten me and even as my body grows weaker and my life begins to fade, Christ died so that I might truly live.
God tried to send you to me, you know. He tried to allow you to experience the same fear, the same suffering that I am enduring so that you would know what I am feeling. He wanted you to show me through first-hand experience that God truly turns darkness into light, but you never came because you said Christians never face sickness, poverty or hardship. So... I am alone because I am in a place where Christians refuse to go.
This weekend, I attended an open house for a ministry which was started nearly a year ago by a man who had lost everything. When I say everything, I mean everything, including his family. Out of the ashes of all of that, rose a man who is committed to serving those in my county who have suffered devastating life-events. His passion to serve in unbelievable and infectious. When the people whom he seeks to serve hear his life story, the walls they are hiding behind suddenly crack and crumble. Why? Because he is one of them. They know that he understands.
As I seek to minister to individuals and families who have been touched by cancer, I encounter walls of caution. So many people say they want to help but then they are gone. So many people attempt to offer words of comfort but... they don't have a clue of what it is like. Then these people learn I am a cancer-survivor... and the walls of reservation fall down. Why, because they identify with me.
When we hear the voice of the Lord saying,
Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? will we dare to reply
Here am I; send me." or will we say,
I will follow you, Lord... as long as the path pleases me.?
I spent 1 year and 9 months working in inpatient Oncology... I loved it to be honest. Giving chemotherapy, knowing the complications, being able to give a patient even an inkling of what to expect. But knowing what to say when there is a giant elephant in the room... not always easy. Instead I tried to find a way to identify with my patients. I began to tell them about myself and learned more about them and I met some truly great people. But God helped me to facilitate my relationships with my patients. I write this because I have seen my patients enter into the valley of the shadow of death. You see, my floor was also a palliative care floor... I spent a lot of time with patients and families before they entered into heaven. I often just sat in rooms with patients so they weren't alone. But often...often times patients enter this "other universe" before they die. They go between the conscious and the unconscious. At first it was disconcerting to me... and even more disconcerting to family members when their loved one enters into this unconscious time. But one time in particular God showed me the amazing things he can do when someone is entering into that place. I write this because it is a story about the valley of the shadow of death...that i got to experience. One of favorite patients whom I had spent countless hours with when I wasn't busy at work was a Christian. He knew his time was coming and he had made his peace with God. He was sick enough however that he needed 24 hour care in a hospital setting. While his wife would go home for a reprieve I would often sit with him...have a cup of coffee, watch part of a ballgame...and just talk. One day he told me about his dream house. He told me exactly where it would be located, he described intricate details about the house, the view, and how he wanted to live there with his wife. That afternoon I said goodbye to him and headed home. The next day he was completely unresponsive...he wasn't responding to any of us, even his wife. By looking at him, we knew his time was coming... Maybe an hour or so before he died...he sat up and said "I'm in the room, in the house." He was there... he was in the house ...his dream house with his wife. he smiled and he was happy. Then he lay back down and went to Heaven an hour or so later. He was with God..and he was at peace. His final hours on earth were spent in his dream house with his wife.
We are ALL called to follow Jesus Christ. He did not follow the easy, prosperous way. Nor did any of His apostles. The health and wealth claims ignore a LOT of scripture, and a lot of people. Personally I always found God more in the less popular places, my most treasured people came from places most had never been, or trod. Jesus Christ. He is always there sis. I enjoyed the blog. God Bless you and comfort you.
I too have found God in the less popular places. I am so thankful, Billy, that I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is far greater than anything we must endure. I am not a victim of my circumstances, I am a victor over them through Jesus Christ our Lord! When we must endure adversity for a season (and sometimes that season lasts a lifetime), we must always remember that adversity (whatever it may be) does NOT have us! God has us!