In July we received some great news. Dad’s cancer had not progressed. It had stood still. As I heard those words I remembered what I learnt earlier that year. I had been reading about when Jesus calmed the storm and I had felt challenged to face storms as Jesus did. With calmness, authority, power and peace ( I wrote about the this in the blog called ‘Character of a Tumour’). I sensed God say He CAN stop the storms in our lives. With just one word the waves can stop crashing against the boat of our lives and the storm doesn’t need to progress. It can just come to a halt. As I heard the words ‘the cancer hasn’t progressed’ I was so relieved and I thanked God over and over again. The cancer had come to a halt. I know dad had chemotherapy and medically we would say that the treatment was effective but when you’re faced with only a 10-20% chance of it working, I couldn’t help but thank God that it worked for dad. I believe with my whole heart that He made this possible.
Over the next few days we began planning a BBQ – a small thank you get-together. For us it was the perfect opportunity to say thank you to friends and family that had supported us over the previous 10 months and an opportunity to collectively thank God. Some might think ‘why would you thank God when the cancer is still there?’ Technically there wasn’t full healing, the progression of the condition had simply stopped.
In my opinion we had every reason to be thankful. I was thankful that dad was feeling better. I was thankful his quality of life had improved. I was thankful to share more moments and memories with dad. I was thankful to see him thankful. That night dad shared his story. He talked about the dark lonely times and how God was with him and gave him hope. My dad’s face lit up as he spoke of his Friend, his Saviour who never left him, who carried him through this difficult time. He experienced a closeness to God he’d never experienced before. Dad was so happy and he wanted to everyone to hear how faithful and good God had been.
You see cancer is messy. Cancer is horrible. Cancer can be devastating. However it’s often in the mess where miracles happen (love this quote by Brene Brown). There were moments of leaning into God during this messy season that led to miracles. I think nowadays peace is a miracle. Coming to a place of being able to forgive yourself and forgive others can be seen as a miracle. Something deep that happens internally. Freedom is a miracle. To be going through a time of suffering yet being able to surrender that suffering to God knowing His ways are better than ours is liberating. It’s liberating knowing God’s got you, He’s in this with us. We’ve experienced the miracle of freedom in this time. As I watched mum and dad go through the mess of this season I saw them embrace peace, confidence and freedom. Something miraculous happened inside them. Something miraculous happened inside me!! Life became bigger, I saw the value of life, the temporary nature of life, the value of relationships, time, things I could take for granted. We often look for the big obvious miracles in life but what about the miracles that go on everyday?
We chose thankfulness because the opposite is being thankless and ungrateful. Surely all of us have something to be grateful for.
So I’ve decided, gratefulness needs to be part of my everyday life! Apparently there are great benefits to it too ( https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/what-mentally-strong-people-dont-do/ 201504/7-scientifically-proven-benefits-gratitude)
We don’t know what the future holds but we remain thankful.
Psalm 34: 1 I bless God every chance I get, my lungs expand with praise.