Last evening my husband and I were chatting with a couple we have known for over twenty years. The wife was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2008, just as I was finishing up my treatment. I remember we sat in their living room about a year ago, right after she had started chemo treatments. We sat there for hours while this dear Christian couple poured out their hearts to us, for they knew we understood what they were facing.
My friend had stage three cancer which means there was extensive lymph node involvement but there was no activity detected in her bones, liver or other areas. Also, there is no evidence of recurrence. PRAISE GOD!
We were standing on their front lawn last night when they broke the news to us. The medical bills combined with a reduction in their income had pushed them over the edge and broken them financially. They had tried everything they could think of but to no avail. All doors closed. They are grateful they will get to keep their home.
I listened carefully and watched their faces as they told of how they had prayed for God to help them. I listened to the things they had done to try to fix the situation. They had done all the right things but still... it had come down to this.
"We prayed and prayed and prayed, " the husband said. I held my breath for a moment as he continued. "and we know that even though we don't understand why this is happening to us, God is with us and He will bring us through."
Standing on their front lawn under the stars, my husband and I did not speculate on whether or not they had a "hidden sin". We did not tell them this wouldn't have happened to them if they would have had more faith in God. I know how that feels, to have those sort of things said to me. It is often called "speaking the truth in love" but I have to ask this question, "Is it?"
I've thrown out this challenge before but no one has ever taken me up on it. The challenge is to show me one instance of Jesus going up to a person who was suffering and condemning them. If we are unable to do that, then perhaps we need to take a good hard look at what we really are doing and start doing what Jesus did and still does today.
Maybe, just maybe we need to do what my friends did. Perhaps we need to recognize that sometimes God allows us to go into the fire. Perhaps we need to realize that even if we are in the fire, He has NOT abandoned us! He is The God Who Walks Through The Fire With Us.
What did my husband and I do? As if on cue, on a cold November night, we extended our arms around our friends. The four of us stood under the stars locked in an embrace and we prayed. We prayed and we rejoiced together because all four of us have learned through experience that there is no pit too deep, no darkness too dark and no fire too hot for God! Truly He is The God Who Walks Through The Fire With Us.