This morning, I sat in a roomful of women, listening to a speaker at my church. I recognized the speaker by sight and perhaps I had talked with her a bit when I have gone up for prayer but I couldn't tell you for sure. I go to a church which has several thousand attendees each week plus my memory is not so good anymore.
As she spoke, I suddenly listened even more closely when she shared that she is a cancer survivor of nearly five years and that during that time, it was like God had surrounded her with a protective bubble as she went through treatment. Then she looked back over to where I was sitting to her right and near the back of the room. She called me by name and said that I knew exactly what she was talking about.
I was stunned. It had been nearly six years since my diagnosis. I was near the back, in a rather large room and yet she had noticed me and even called me by name though before she spoke, I could not have told you hers. If I was someone who was on church staff, got up on the platform or was involved in leading groups, this might not have been a surprise but this is not the case. I am merely one person in a large crowd at church gatherings and in a few small groups I attend.
I spoke to her afterwards. I was just going to congratulate her on her nearly five years of survivorship and that I was blessed by her message. I was not prepared for what she told me but I think it is important for me to share it here so that we might remember this story when we are facing a fierce battle that does not seem to have an end.
It seems that she had been watching me back in 2008 when I was going through cancer. A large bald woman wearing the pink baseball cap with a pink rhinestone "princess pin" which is pictured to the right, is not very hard to miss in even a large crowd. I sort of stood out in the crowd. I hadn't known that she was watching me but she was.
Then in April 2009, she herself was diagnosed with breast cancer. She remembered this funny-looking woman who would cry and desperately cling to God, trying to remember that God is faithful no matter what and that no matter how "dark" it is, God turns darkness into light. She remembered that and it encouraged her as she fought her own battle.
Later, as I was sharing this with my husband, I broke down and cried. You see, I remember those very tough and painful days. I remember those moments of doubt and despair which I faced and still do as a result of continued health challenges. However, today I was reminded that when we fight and endure trials, it is not just about us. It is about others as well.
How much do we love others? What are we willing to endure in this life so that our life might be a testimony of the love, grace, mercy, power and faithfulness of God and in turn, bless, encourage and strengthen others? Are we willing to do this or do we want to live in a tidy little world sitting up in our little ivory towers, never being out amongst the people, never experiencing their struggles and hardships and never demonstrating to them that God can indeed turn our darkness into light?
I am willing to endure anything if it will bring salvation and eternal glory in Christ Jesus to those God has chosen.
Timothy 2:10 (NLT)
you hit the nail on the head. So often we are busy looking out our own sin or stuff. Even the trials of life and we become self centered at time and think why me. Today I often say why not me. We each are God's so He can do as He needs with us. I have come the understand of what Paul meant when he said that he fills up what is lacking in Christ's suffering. I am studying the Book of Job and am thinking of doing a series on it.
As far as suffering I have had my share. about two years ago, I was struggling coming of addiction, but I thought I had the upper hand after 30 years of suffering the shame and loss. Then as I was coming out of a store I was hit with a vision of suffering to come. I began to weep bitterly. I thought I could not take another day. I was wrong. I am well today. a lot happened in between then and now. Enough for a book, but today I accept life as it comes and rest in the I am God's no matter what.
[quote]How much do we love others? What are we willing to endure in this life so that our life might be a testimony of the love, grace, mercy, power and faithfulness of God and in turn, bless, encourage and strengthen others?[/quote] That's you, K
Your blog made me cry... how MUCH we will learn in Eternity, about how we unknowingly have affected others... My prayer is that there are more times on the positive side than on the negative. What a blessing it is when we get a glimpse this side of heaven!
I really don't know what to say, but thank you for writing this one.