Yesterday, in the midst of a whiny mood about the business of my life, I opened this email from a friend.  My mood melted away in shame as I read about the reality of her unexpected guest – cancer.  Please read and soak up Lisa Hayes’ wisdom and perspective.

Here we are finally at the end.  It’s different than I thought it would be.  The end comes with little comfort or relief and no closure . . . only a pause and the knowledge that for the next 6 to 8 weeks we have only two appointments. The end comes with more questions – did any of this work?  We know that chemo drugs do not work on this type of cancer and that it was used just to break down Rich’s body to allow the radiation to work harder. Will anything grow, spread or get worse during these next weeks of no treatment? Is anyone working on a cure for this?  We’ve been told repeatedly “no cure, only remission.” Isn’t there an exception to every rule?  How long will the radiation continue to eat away at Rich after these last treatments? What is the next treatment?  Will God chose to override all of the medical and provide a miracle?

So many unanswered questions and no one has anything to offer but a guess.  In some ways the answers don’t matter anyway.  We will now forever live under the cancer cloud. The lives of my boys forever changed, not by the expected erosion of the world slowly creeping in, but by the bombardment of an awful disease that threatens to take their father and has stolen some of their childhood. They are firsthand witnesses to chemo, radiation and extreme illness. They have also witnessed a brave father and at times whispered their fears for the future.

Over these months, nurses have said things like “in a year this time will be nothing but a bad memory.”  In my mind I would like that to be true.  There are times you can honestly say to someone, “Wow, I would have never known you went through cancer. You look great!”  The reality is that even if Rich is cured somehow, he will remain paralyzed for life.  That is heartbreaking!  Usually the nurse who made the hopeful statement comes back a short time later and confesses, “I just read your chart, I have never even heard of that type of cancer, wow, rare!”  Sigh….

We are coming up on 3 months of living with cancer as our unexpected guest.  A guest that fills each room and each thought, casting its ugly shadow on even the simplest of tasks and casting doubt and dread on even the most cheerful moments.  A guest that comes like the devil to steal and to kill.  Yet, knowing all of this and saying this there is still an undying hope that Rich will be the one spared, the first to defy the odds, the one to receive the undeserved miracle from God.  There is peace in the knowledge of who God is and His unchanging character that reassures that this unwanted guest is no mistake and is here by His plan.  This guest is here to make us more like God on the inside even while the outside is destroyed.  This guest, though appearing as a devil, will bring God glory!  Therefore we will continue to host this guest for as long as the Lord sees fit.  We will allow God to light the dark corners where this guest has planted fear and pain.  We will continue to release our boys to the One who can use a painful, changed childhood to begin to prepare them to be Godly men.  For no one stays a child forever.  We will try to use every moment to release ourselves to His will and purpose, no matter the ending, for this too will bring God glory.  And that, Friends, is the reason you and I have been created.

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  • Debbie

    WOW! God bless your family as you go thru this journey. How wonderful that thru your tears, you can give God glory and the respect of the One Great Physician….we just can’t see the whys, the what ifs…the reasons for this ugly visitor. I have had cancer twice…not a good feeling when you think about it. Paralyzed for life? Well thank the Lord for the ability to refocus when my fears want to get the best of me. All I am concerned about is the JOY HE provides in the moment….in the day. Really having to go thru that battle, helps me to find the Joy….I’m always lookin for it! I don’t want to wallow in my affliction…..burden, self….I want to enjoy what time HE has given me! I won’t let cancer take that away….not today. This is a powerful message….it needs to be “out there”….thank you for the opportunity to pray for someone who needs divine intervention. Maybe…just maybe

  • carol

    Your Perspective is a real encouragement to me. I found myself thinking that if YOU can adopt this attitude in the midst of a cancer battle, then I can do the same for our family situation. Thank you for sharing and giving God the glory. Your family is in my prayers.

  • ruth lipsy

    This is such a God-glorifying attitude. As Debbie mentions above, let this powerful message get “out there”! I would love for Lisa to speak to a dear sister-in-love who is battling cancer and writes such similar messages, bringing our Lord honor. Thank you also for the blessing of reading this, and let us remember always that in life and death, we are the LORD’s.

  • Lisa Elliott

    I too am a firm believer in God’s glory being the key to our existence. He wants and deserves the glory. The question is, will he receive it through our life our through our death. I lost my 19 year old son, Ben, due to this deadly disease a year ago this August 19. However, he did not die a victim, but a victor as God continues to use his testimony for His glory. We call it the “BENspective” rather than perspective in our case. Now it is up to those of us who are still awaiting our “home-going” to splash God’s glory around to a world that needs Light in their own darkness. Thank you Lisa for sharing your insights.