I was quite concerned about the beginning of 2011. To be honest, I still am.
We received gut-wrenching news right after Christmas – my aunt, my mother’s baby sister, has cancer.
It still hurts to see it in words.
Since then, we’ve enlisted much needed prayer warriors across multiple states to help, and I hope you will, too. She’s going to the Cancer Treatment Center near Chicago on Tuesday, so if any of you live around there, please let me know. It’s just nice to know that someone I know, even in the bloggy world, is close to my Southern-born-and-raised aunt. Thank God for Facebook. One of my high school friends lives less than 25 miles from the Center, which is a blessing just to know that, even though this friend and my aunt have never met, she is there, too.
But, despite the fact that she quickly got into this great place, I was still mournful most of this week. The sermons on Sunday really spoke to me, and I tried to take comfort in them.
Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)
The joy of the Lord is our strength; there is hope in today. Our sins separate us from God, and, yes, we have endured suffering, but our faith is forward-looking. We have hope.
It is still hard; don’t get me wrong. It’s hard to have faith when loved ones suffer. But sometimes, all we need is some good news to remind us that God is still at work in our world. I had that break yesterday with two rounds of absolutely awesome news – miracles, both of them. I’m overcome with emotion with what God is doing in my life and the lives of those close to me.
There is hope in today. I pray my aunt grows closer in the Lord and, selfishly, that God completely removes the cancer in a way that gives glory specifically to Him. I want the doctors and all those who come in contact with my aunt to see God work in her physically and emotionally.
Already we have been blessed with the amount of prayer that has been lifted up to God for her. To know that we have friends who are praying for her means so much to us and to her. Every day I call my mom with news: “She’s been lifted up by this church…by this Sunday School class…by these people.” I am so grateful for the people in my life.
My aunt is a fighter. My grandmother, her mother, has beaten cancer three times. But, friends, continue to pray for her and for my family. It’s hard to endure.
But we have hope in today. The joy of the Lord is our strength.