I received my first infusion on Friday. My sweet sister asked me that morning how she could pray for me. I told her I honestly didn't know what to pray. At times like this I am so thankful for God's promise in Romans 8:26, "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans." NIV Heading into chemo for the first time felt so bizarre. It still does. I know it's what I need to do, but I don't want to. Afraid of the unknown, worried about the side effects, but following the doctor's recommended protocol. In order for the drugs to kill any remaining cancer cells that may be in my body, they have to be strong enough to kill other things as well. Things I would rather have left in tact. Like me hair. My immune system, my energy and vitality.
A friend of mine told me that she knew someone who referred to her infusions as her "healing". And that's what she would say when it was time to go. "I'm off to my healing!" I love this perspective. In our culture of shortcuts and abbreviations, we are unwittingly diminishing the most important part of treatment. We call it chemo. And yes, there are a lot of chemicals being pumped into my veins. But the purpose of them is the therapy. It's about the healing. It's about embracing the skill, intelligence and technology God has given to my doctors to ensure that I can be around to serve Him for as long as He wills.
Not everything God allows into our lives is pleasant. Cancer, injury, financial struggles, broken relationships, emotional pain. Yuck. Whatever the hardship, it can feel like a poison flowing through our veins and destroying whatever is in its path. But God teaches that he can use anything this broken world can dish up. "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28 NIV That's the therapy.
My limited vision sees the challenges more readily. The pain and weakness caused by chemo - or life's rocky roads, can overwhelm me at times and blind me to the bigger purpose. But God has ways of gently reminding me that He will carry me through this; just like He has carried me through surgery; just like He as carried me through difficult relationships; just like He has carried me through depression; and just like He is still carrying me through Shelby's special needs and medical challenges. There is healing on the other side. Actually, there is healing happening right now. It's more challenging to see in the heaviest moments, but hope and joy exist in each instant when we ask our Father for eyes to see it.