Okay, people, it’s the week of Thanksgiving Day, and I’m having trouble.
A dear friend was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer within the last two weeks, and I just discovered moments ago that it seems to have spread. I’m struggling to be thankful. All the good things are still going on around me, but this horrible event has taken center stage.
I spent a morning with a dear friend talking about my favorite subject—God’s surprising grace. I’m warm, and it’s cold outside. The aroma of freshly baked pumpkin pies is rising from my kitchen. My husband (if you can believe that) is baking them, and my daughter is helping. If THAT’S not something to be thankful for, what is? And salvation is sure and true—just like it was 30 minutes ago—before this news splattered itself across the windshield of my life. I feel like I’ve got the wipers on, trying to clear the window with the windshield-washer fluid, and it isn’t working.
Sorrow has upstaged joy. I feel a little guilty trying to give thanks knowing she is so ill. I feel like I am profaning her sorrow in some unnameable way. But it also feels wrong not to try to praise God.
God has not budged. He is still upon the throne. He still holds her and her family in His hands and breathes sufficient grace into their lives.
But shouldn’t sufficient grace bring healing, joy, and laughter? Apparently not. Someone has said that we should look at the events in our life through the eyes of God, not at God through the events of our life. God is faithful, and that should shape the way I see this. I shouldn’t evaluate it in reverse: this has happened, so God isn’t faithful.
I guess this is the life of faith: trusting that He is enough in the middle of pain, that He carries us through the multiple crises that we face in life, and that He is doing something important around us right smack dab in the middle of the suffering.
Tears rim the edges of my eyes. Father, You are faithful, and You are love. You never leave us or forsake us. You are still enthroned on high and glorious in splendor. Thank You for salvation, eternal life, kindness, mercy, and the gift of faith to believe. Thank You that we are held in Your everlasting arms, and we can rest in that. Help me see Your precious gifts this week, as I enter sorrow with my friend and her family.
Help me to give thanks!
…The Mad Hatter