It is good for me that I was afflicted.
It’s taken quite awhile for me to be at a place where this Psalm doesn’t rub me the wrong way. It’s hard, next to impossible, to read something like this in the midst of suffering. In my head I thought this might be true because God’s word is true, but in my affliction, all my feelings were telling me this was impossible to survive, the worst thing that could happen to anyone.
But as the days, months, years have gone by, I’ve become more and more grateful. I’ve had a glimpse of the faithfulness of God. He would have been faithful if he had taken me, but he was faithful to give me grace and mercy in the midst of pain, which was much harder than spending eternity with him.
His gift to me was being able to journey with others, here on earth, and praise his name. After reading this Psalm, I emailed it with fear and trembling, to a new cancer friend just 2 chemo treatments into the process. This was her response:
I awoke early this morning–a little before three. I lay there and tried to go back to sleep but knew it wasn’t coming. Jim was breathing lightly and I sensed he wasn’t very deeply asleep so I tried to be quiet and still. I prayed for everyone I could think of, and yet my prayers kept circling back to myself, asking for reassurance and help with this illness. Somehow I feel I’m not supposed to pray for myself but it kept happening.
Finally I got up a little after four. The cats were chirping quietly, still not too demanding because the coffee pot wasn’t on yet. I don’t want them to get used to middle of the night breakfasts. I drank some apple juice and made the cats wait until five, when I fed them and started the coffee pot.
I have heard people talk about the gift of cancer. I have the beginning of a sense of what that might mean. There is a heightened feeling of one’s life and breath, and how it is a precious thing that is given to us. There is fear and mortality and hope and yes, doom. But overall, I am blessed and I know it.
It made me cry, tears of identification and joy. She has so much more to look forward to in this journey.
What suffering has God made you grateful for? How has it changed your life?