Although her smile and positive spirit have not changed, frequent visits to the hospital have become a common part of our lives. We have also become more familiar with different types and colors of headscarves, specific dietary restrictions, and the basic care needed to help her go through the process of healing as well as possible.
In spite of this trial, God has shown us, every single day, reasons to be happy. We have received the loving support of many people, as well as the opportunity to share our faith with others along the way.
When we go through dark valleys, we tend to believe more firmly that God is faithful, and that His Word is reliable. From the very beginning God promised that things would not always be easy, but that He would go with us every step of the way.
Sometimes we don’t want to talk about life-threatening disease. The word “cancer” encompasses so much suffering and helplessness that it seems better not to mention it. Words in general have power, but the power of God’s Word bests them all.
Hollywood sells us images of happiness that require beauty and long hair flying in the wind to portray freedom. God reminds us that abstract concepts such as happiness, beauty, or freedom find their true definition only in Him.
When we first heard the diagnosis, I started reviewing notes I had taken when studying medicine. I remembered the specific genes that “controlled” this cancer, and I suddenly also recalled a Bible verse I love.
A few years ago one of my best friends passed away unexpectedly. This particular verse was one that I discovered thanks to her. It gave me hope when I grieved her loss. Now, all of a sudden, this text was coming back with an even more powerful message for this time.
My medical training reminded me of the fact that I had a high chance of having the hereditary mutation that would make me more prone to this type of cancer. But that’s not what I thought about most. I was comforted by the thought that there is a “genetic” heritage that is more powerful than any bad genetic heritage I may carry in my body: God has planted eternity in the human heart.
“Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end” (Eccl. 3:11, NLT).*
Who are we to argue? Who are we to pretend to understand?
It’s comforting to know that God has made everything for its own time. It’s even better to realize that we are incapable of understanding and seeing everything here on earth, so that we may always cling to Him in daily dependence.
I marvel at the power of the word “yet.” It reminds me of Habakkuk’s expression of faith in the face of persecution and destruction: “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign Lord is my strength!” (Hab. 3:18, 19, NLT).
We all experience tough times. We all walk through dark valleys. But no matter the challenges we face, God’s promises have proven true and will continue to comfort us until the very end.