For those who have been reading my blog lately you know about the trial my dear friend, Heather, is going through. If you are just joining me, let me quickly explain that my 28-year-old friend is in the last days (according to human terms) of a cancerous brain tumor. Her husband is a pastor and they have two small boys – Judah - 2, and Levi - 10 months.
As of last week this was her condition:
“Heather's been hovering around the same condition now for days. Mostly resting around the clock. She still has some strength left, she's taking liquids in fairly well - even though we'd like her to be drinking more - and her pain isn't exceeding the morphine's masking abilities too badly (only after we change her positions or sit her up or lay her back down for different things - then its bad).”
Then on Friday and Saturday nights I read these updates about her:
“Heather had a remarkable day today! She had only been taking drops of water from a straw and today she sipped from a cup--herself!! She has mostly been sleeping 24/7 and today she was pulling herself up, wanting to sit up. She had her hair washed, bed changed, lots of activity and she's doing well. Brought the boys in a few times and she was so glad to see them. God is good! “
“Heather has had a day of energy, alertness... and mischief. There's definitely been some sort of shift physically that seems to have given her a window of feeling much better. She's been sitting up, drinking lots, eating little servings of yogurt and a few other soft things from about noon on Friday until about suppertime on Saturday. She's been able to see the boys a few times, etc. She's also been trying to get out of bed, (I woke at around 4am to look across the room and see her reaching over the side of the bed above the handrail for something on the floor!), she's tried to take the fitted sheets off the bed, and she sometimes plays with her injection site ports and the morphine pump. Because of the expansion of the tumor, she has virtually no speech, almost complete loss of strength on her right side, and trouble understanding things - but to what degree she understands is very difficult to tell and seems to change constantly. So we are trying to watch her so that she doesn't do anything harmful, but we're also enjoying looking at pictures together, and I've been playing her some guitar.
Then, at around 4pm this afternoon she seems to have lost a lot of the energy again. Either she's tuckered out from more activity than she's used to, or it was a short window of reprieve from her symptoms - time will tell. She's been sleeping almost straight now for 5-6 hours and her headache is back a bit.”
As I read the updates on Friday and Saturday I found myself getting excited. Maybe…just maybe…this was the last minute miracle that so many of us have been praying for!
And then as quickly as that thought came…so did a bad attitude.
Through out this trial my faith has been strengthened and I have been able to work through the human emotion in light of the sovereignty of God. But Saturday night I began yelling at God in my heart and mind.
Why?! Why was He giving us a sense of hope if He wasn’t going to heal her here on earth? I told God that it’s not kind to play with our emotions…either heal her here on earth or take her home! Don’t let her suffer…don’t dangle the rest of us like human yo-yos!
I struggled all night Saturday and all day Sunday with this bad attitude that didn’t like God’s current plan. Not that I have ever like the plan overall…but this latest up and down just dug under my skin like a splinter.
And then God spoke to me.
On Sunday night during our evening service we split up into small groups to pray. As one of the ladies in my group prayed she lifted Heather and her family up in prayer and in doing so, thanked God for the gift of every moment He was giving her.
The searing pain in my mind was from the knife of the Holy Spirit cutting away the bad attitude I held toward God at that moment. While I physically sat in a pew holding my sleeping 5-year-old son, my heart was on it’s knees before the God of all.
As the prayers around me kept going on, the tears slipped down my cheeks, and my heart cried out to my heavenly Father. I confessed my wicked and self-centered attitude and asked for Jesus to forgive me for so easily turning my back and doubting His love.
I was humbled by the reminder that every moment – good or bad – is a pure, loving, gift from God - the very God who created ALL! He has given Heather every breath she inhales for His glory and honor.
It’s not about what feels good to me. It’s not about what I think is right or wrong or fair. It’s not about making Mandy look good or feel good.
It’s about Him.
“For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” – Colossians 1:16-17
He holds every moment together and so rather than being mad that God’s plan isn’t what I want…I am going to worship Him for having the perfect plan for me…for Heather…for us all. If that includes some bright moments before He takes her home…I submit to His plan. If it means there is still suffering ahead of her…I submit not because I like it, but because I trust Him.
Today I am celebrating God’s grace in every breath…every moment…no matter the out come…