These are the verses I read this morning from Psalm 118. “Thank God because He’s good, His love never quits…I was right on the cliff-edge, ready to fall, when God grabbed and held me. God’s my strength, he’s also my song, and now he’s my salvation… Hear the shouts… The hand of God has turned the tide! I didn’t die; I lived! And now I’m telling the world what God did. God tested me, he pushed me hard, but he didn’t hand me over to Death… Thank you for responding to me; you’ve truly become my salvation! Thank God – He’s so good. His love never quits!”
All day long I’ve been thinking not only about how God has rescued and delivered me but praising Him because He did it so quickly. I may never know why my cancer story has started (and hopefully ended) this way but I am well aware there are many who have different stories. Harder stories. Stories of how God has and is testing them. Some even who are handed over to death.
Today I spent a great deal of time in the waiting room due to a scheduling error. There were lots of new faces in the room today. Many who bear cancer’s mark. I realize I am fortunate that there are no visible symptoms of disease on my body. When I am fully clothed no scars are even visible. Today I waited with those who could not talk because they were writhing in pain. I waited with those who could only sit and cry. I waited with those who bore not only bald heads and surgical scars, I waited with those who had lost body functions and limbs to cancer. I waited with those left ravaged, disfigured and misshapen by cancer. I saw things today. Horrible things.
The air was thick in the waiting room today. It’s hard to feel the surge of thankfulness you feel when you see others who have it worse than you do. It stinks. Cancer stinks.
Today I saw up close and personal how this terrible disease leaves some chewed up and spit out. Today I saw once again how it can leave a mother unable to care for her own children or worse. I saw how it can leave a mother childless. I hate cancer. Today I couldn’t wait to get inside my car. And cry. Big, giant weepy tears of sadness and gratitude and anger and grief all mixed together. I cried because today was a big giant reminder of this broken world in which we live.
As I talked with a close friend today trying to flesh out some of these crazy feelings, I told her how I felt guilty for not appreciating how “good” I have it. Her wise response was, “There’s nothing good about cancer.” I have to remind myself of this over and over again because I feel I should be more thankful for my circumstance. And I am very thankful that my treatment worked and that there is no visible disease in my body and in just a few weeks I will be able to resume “life as normal.” I can do all the things I could do before I had cancer. I've lost virtually nothing but a few months of time and even that, in cancer, is not much. I will be free to have a routine that doesn’t include cancer and that, is something for which to be eternally grateful.
And, I wonder. Will it be any different? Will I be any different? And today I begged the Lord just as I did when facing a cancer diagnosis, “Lord, don’t let me waste it.”
The Lord is my strength and my song; he has given me victory…I will not die; instead, I will live to tell what the Lord has done…Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. Psalm 118:14,17 29