Margaret Feinberg has breast cancer. I received her newsletter this morning sharing her journey of the past few months and of the treatment she is now receiving, how this affects her plans for the fall and the next year.
She’s not alone.
Within the past week I’ve learned of three people with serious health concerns. Three women close to me. About my age. With families and jobs and ministries and … three women not so different from me. With cancer. Wtih blood clots. With mountainous obstacles dropped hard on their toes, refusing to be ignored or pushed aside. Slews of tests, appointments, meetings; all requiring decisions. Big decisions.
No one bothered to ask them if these journeys were convenient or beneficial or if they fit into their plans. Tragedies never ask permission.
I am shaken. It’s too close.
I am fearful. I couldn’t face something so severe right now. What would my children do without a mother? How would I ever say “good-bye?” I’m not strong enough.
This summer I’ve been reading through Paul’s epistles. Since starting Big Word three years ago, I’ve spent the majority of my study time in the Old Testament. I adore the Old Testament, but, after so much time intensely studying it, I needed a break. (Kind of like the break I needed from the New Testament three years ago.)
Reading Paul’s writings has felt like diving into a deep, cool stream. Laden with truths and encouragement, the chapters capture me. I can’t seem to get enough. I’ll read sections over and over throughout the day, drinking it in. This week Philippians won’t release me.
Paul talks about rejoicing always, about the “peace of God that surpasses all understanding.” He speaks of contentment in all circumstances (even trials and health problems). He encourages the readers to press on toward the goal, in spite of difficulties; to be mature in their thinking and their faith and to remember where their citizenship lies. (HINT: It’s not here in a mortal body on a cursed earth.) He urges believers to “forget what lies behind and to strain forward toward what lies ahead” (including renewed, glorious bodies). He says that all we accomplish, all that we are and all that we have are nothing compared to simply knowing Christ and the power of His resurrection.
All that we are, all that we have, all that we do is nothing … NOTHING compared to knowing Him.
And so I wait. I watch. I pray. I claw and I scratch and I cling to Him, because — well, this life is pretty awesome and I don’t want to let it go, but if knowing Him exceeds all that I know now, then I want that. I crave what is superior and HE is superior. I want nothing else.
Your Turn: Please join me in prayer for those who struggle. If you are not yet familiar with Margaret Feinberg and her work, please visit her website. She has written some wonderful books about knowing God. Her studies are tremendous.