After the worst raging of the storm began to die down, pass by, and after many months eventually fade, what was our takeaway? What did we learn from all this suffering?
As you might expect, just attempting to process everything and then move forward from the fallout was tremendously challenging and included experiences we had never imagined navigating. My initial reaction was a desire to never discuss my hellish post-treatment experience—and secondly, to find out who was to blame.
As my head cleared from the cacophony of physician-mandated prescriptions, I came fairly rapidly to a grace-enabled response on the “who is to blame” question.
In time, as the medication-induced fog began to lift and I began to be able to begin processing as much as I could recall of what had occurred, God enabled me to recognize that He had permitted this long, heavily-loaded trial and subsequent accompanying trauma in our lives. We did not want it and could not have expected anything like it, but somehow we found ourselves in its quicksand. It was beyond bewildering, and the more we struggled in its grasp, the farther in it seemed to rapidly take us.
God could have altered this course. And many, many times in this drawn-out experience, He did precisely that. But in His wisdom, some things He did not block or prohibit. I had to ask myself if even when facing some of my greatest fears, would I utter along with Job from the Old Testament, “Though He slay me, yet will I praise Him” (Job 13:15)?
I realized rather quickly I could try to blame this or that, one individual or another, but ultimately, as I heard from a friend, I really do believe that “everything that touches a believer passes first through the Sovereign hands of the Savior.” Acting upon that belief was crucial for going forward.
God’s grace which had sustained us these many months, and continues to do so, enfolded my heart, bringing me to two important conclusions:
- He has a purpose for even this trial and the suffering that each of us experienced in different ways.
- He will not waste any part of this journey.
In embracing this thinking, a new willingness has emerged in me to share these dire experiences with others, to even risk being misunderstood, in order to bring Him glory. It is my sincere prayer to somehow to be a blessing to individuals who may be unexpectedly in the midst of great unknowns, terrible suffering, ripped from a settled existence, only to find themselves with more questions than answers and persistent feelings of lost hope.
I remember well wondering, “What positive outcomes from our trial’s circumstances could there ever really be?!” Even when reason says there can’t be any positives, faith and trust in one’s heavenly Father insists that there are.
Indeed, as Spurgeon said, “Our infirmities become the black velvet on which the diamond of God’s love glitters all the more brightly.”¹
To be continued…²
¹ From the sermon, “A Wafer of Honey” (MTP 52, Sermon 2974, p 80).
² For a helpful article along the lines of this post, see “Paradoxical Presence” by Margaret Manning.
This post was originally published on the Life to Life blog as a part of a larger series on Beth’s journey with cancer.