Recently I spent time with my Circle of Friends in Tennessee. While there I received news that my dad had made the trip from Ohio to Pittsburgh to undergo surgery on his vocal cords. But before I go on, I should give some background information. For quite awhile my dad’s voice was hoarse. He would just talk and begin to lose his voice, and it just didn’t seem to get any better. His family physician referred him to an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist who found a white substance on his vocal cords. A biopsy was taken and found to be negative. Symptoms continued and my dad was referred to a vocal cord specialist in Pittsburgh. The specialist took a look, finding a lump, she suggested surgery.
On Monday, July 26, (while I’m in Tennessee), my dad went into surgery. The doctor removed the lump and took several biopsies of some suspicious tissue. Later that evening I spoke to my sister on the phone. I was shocked to hear that the doctor was fairly certain we were dealing with cancer. I just couldn’t believe it! I was so sure that since the first biopsy was negative, that it just couldn’t be this thing called cancer!
Fortunately, I was surrounded by my loving friends who cried with me, prayed with me, listened to me….and committed to keep praying! In speaking with my dad, I felt so guilty that I was not with him. But his response was, “you are right where you need to be”. And I believe I was! Had I not been in Tennessee, I would not have been surrounded by 30 some women who committed to pray for my dad and my family! I promised my dad at that moment that I would be with him to receive the results.
As many of you already know, cancer can turn your world upside down! My family has already had experience with it. You see, my mom is a survivor of bladder cancer, and just 2 short years ago, had a large brain tumor removed and went through radiation. My dad has been a wonderful caregiver to her, stepping up to get the housework done, cooking, etc. He is her rock….which makes this all the harder. What if dad really does have cancer? What does this mean for our family? What does this mean for my mom? So many fears, so many questions…where is God in all of this? Does he even care?
God led me to the story in John 11. If you recall, this is concerning the death of Lazarus. Jesus delayed before coming to Lazarus. But why delay, when He knew Lazarus, the one he loved, was sick? Jesus could have gone right away to heal Lazarus! But He deliberately delayed, why? The scripture tells us, “so that those who would see the miracle would believe“. I think Mary and Martha didn't timidly tell Jesus, "If you would have been here, you could have saved him." No, I believe they were angry and did not understand Christ's reason for delay. Jesus understood their pain, He was moved deeply, He was troubled, and He wept and He comforted them. He didn't yell at them, He didn't condemn them. In the same way He feels our pain and longs to comfort us.
Jesus has purpose in waiting to answer us, just as He had purpose in waiting to go to Lazarus...so that others will see and believe! He shows up right on time...not always in our time! It is for God's glory that God's son may be glorified through it (vs. 4). Like we do so often....Martha continues to doubt and question Jesus in Vs 39 when Jesus orders the stone taken away....Martha instead of responding with great anticipation, she responds in doubt and unbelief. Oh Lord...help us to believe!
I am claiming Jesus' promise today...believing He understands my pain and though He may choose to delay His answers in my trials, He does so with purpose for His honor and glory! My hope is that you may do the same! I am excited to see just what God is going to teach me on this journey with this thing called cancer.