“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7 ESV
It’s been ages since I sat down to a blank screen and tried to write something, so please forgive me if I am a little rusty. I think I lost my voice for a while, or maybe I couldn’t get my words and heart to connect. Either I detach from my emotions as a form of survival or I experience a rush of emotions like a torrential downpour all at once and fear that it’s all too much. But I haven’t really known what to say. And I didn’t think “I don’t know” would make a very good blog post.
“Ah, LORD God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.” Jeremiah 32:17 ESV
The truth is that since last March, Austin has had roughly 23 clinic visits, 11 MRI’s (lasting one to three hours each), 59 pokes, 2 surgeries, 4 cancer treatments (consisting of 121 doses of chemotherapy) and his prognosis has not changed. He still has brain cancer, and brain cancer is still deadly.
And God is still God.
“And he said, ‘It is the LORD. Let him do what seems good to him.’ ” 1 Samuel 3:18 ESV
I almost always hate answering two questions: “How is Austin doing?” and “How are you?” When people ask me these questions they often do so with a look of pity or worse, with a pleading in their eyes – desperate to hear something good. They want me to tell them that Austin is doing well or improving or something bright is on the horizon. They want me to say I am doing fine or hanging in there or relieved or grateful for some new progress or development in his treatment. A friend recently told me, “People want hope.” But do I have to be the one to give it to them? I am not sure I want or can handle that kind of responsibility.
“ ‘If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods . . .’ ” Daniel 3:17-18 ESV
My hope isn’t in a cure for childhood brain cancer. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I am in constant prayer that God would heal my son this side of Heaven and that this new treatment would be the breakthrough. I pray without ceasing. In fact, my prayers sound more like desperate pleas to give us what I know we don’t deserve. Life is a gift. But I cannot know what the next week or month or year will hold for our family. I cannot change Austin’s diagnosis just by wishing it into existence. I cannot hold tightly in my hands what never really belonged to me in the first place.
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us . . .
To him be the glory” Ephesians 3:20-21 ESV
My hope is in JESUS and Jesus alone. One word from Him and He could heal Austin completely. To be honest, I have often wondered why? Why hasn’t He healed Austin? Why does it have to be like this? Why all the months and years of heartache? God has been gracious and patient and loving with all my questioning. But He is still God and I am not, and He doesn’t have to give me an answer. But you know what? He has given me something so much better. HOPE—a hope I can count on, even bet our lives on. One day, Jesus will return and restore this world to its former glory. He will make all things new (Revelation 21:5). Cancer doesn’t get the final say. He will eradicate sickness and forever bind up the brokenhearted. Grief and goodbyes will end. He has promised, and He is faithful to keep His promises. The victory is already ours. This is my living hope!
“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” 2 Corinthians 4:17 ESV
Maybe the reason I haven’t been able to write lately is because I haven’t been still or quiet enough to listen. The affliction feels anything but “light” or “momentary” and I have wanted to do all I can to drown it out – although it never really leaves my thoughts. I avoid people’s stares and questions until I’m ready to put on my church-face because I don’t think I can give them the answers for which they are searching. But I realize that I do have something better. I’m short on answers but big on Jesus. Cancer has been the best thing that has happened to my relationship with Him. I love Him more than I ever have and I have never been more grateful for what waits us in eternity. It truly is a “glory beyond all comparison” – even if I cannot comprehend the “weight” of it this side of Heaven.
“And the ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” Isaiah 35:10 ESV