Two confessions: I don’t read in Psalms much and this week I’ve been feeling overwhelmed with anger. These two don’t have too awful much to do with each other but God has used both to help me grasp the new reality (or I guess re-grasp the old reality) that I have cancer. I have that poison running free in my body right now. I have disease eating away at my insides as we speak. And that makes me angry. I think it would make a lot more sense to feel angry the first time around and maybe accept it more the second time, but with the news last week that my cancer has recurred and is now taking my liver hostage, I have struggled a lot with anger. This feeling is a bit foreign to me and it actually was alarming just how much of it I was fostering. The usual anger I feel is more of a “righteous” anger. You know the kind, where your blood boils because of an injustice or when you hear someone speaking badly of God or when someone is completely misrepresenting Jesus or is taking the Bible and twisting it. Stuff like that. That stuff instantly sends me off, I’m not saying that’s right, but that’s generally when I feel angry.
But this week has been different. I am mad. I have had a chip on my shoulder and felt like I’ve been carrying around a huge burden all week. I’ve been bursting into tears spontaneously, but it’s not out of sadness. No, I’m not sad. I’m mad.
So last night, I felt God telling me two very specific things. For one, he’s been gently but persistently putting these words in my head: “I am closer than the air you breathe.” This reminder wasn’t bringing me much comfort until some friends began to pray with me that what I want out of this is fruit. I want to bear good fruit out of this experience and bring glory to God through building up His name in the face of hardship. So after praying with some amazing girls, on my drive home I felt reminded that I am breathing Him in to sustain me. I’m not to breathe in the air of the world, so to speak. I’m not to be sustained by hopes of longevity or prosperity or good health or superficial comforts. No, I am to breathe deeply in His love and faithfulness, sustained by His promises and His presence, trusting fully in His provision.
This brought comfort deep into my heart. A relief and a peace that I have not had any sense of since hearing the news. The songs I heard the other day were a great reminder that He was still there and today I felt God’s beautiful presence break through.
He also brought me to Psalms. I typically lump Psalms in with the rest of the Old Testament. I mean, I like reading it here and there, but I get much more enthused about the New Testament. I search out and thirst to go deeper into the NT, so when I kept hearing “Psalms” in my head, I wanted to kinda ignore it, but thought I better check it out. I’m lead to Psalm 39. Check this out:
Life is short. That reminder may not resonate with all of us, but when facing death eye to eye, you realize that it’s not just some platitude you tell people to remind them to make the most of each day. No, no. It’s actually a painful truth that keeps us seeking in the right places, seeking truth, seeking Jesus.
Here, David knows that life is short but he’s asking God to remind him of that, which I never really thought of doing before.
Although nothing has really changed that much, it has felt like everything was different. Upside down and backwards. But I’m asking God now to remind me why I’m here, remind me to be fruitful, remind me to keep relying on Him only for hope.
So here I am at Penn waiting to restart chemo and right after will get a CT scan of my lungs. And I don’t feel angry.
I’ve got other things to worry about. My heart still hurts at the thought of leaving my babies and my husband, and our family and friends, but that won’t ever go away. That won’t ever stop bothering me. I won’t let it. It will keep me fighting.