As we rapidly approach the end of January, I reflect on what’s transpired up to this point. It seems like it was six months ago when we got the news that turned our world upside down. Unfortunately, we only just passed the two month anniversary.
Regardless of what the passage of time since then feels like or what it actually is, I can tell you for sure that it feels like I’ve aged five years in those two months.
During these past couple months I have longed for those beautiful moments of mercy. Those moments when the pain is eased, even momentarily. That’s why I’ve coveted even the normally mundane in my life, these blessed times of distraction like going to work, taking care of the kids, and helping to keep the home standing upright. I’ve also buried myself in my writing, determined to get my next book published sometime in late 2020 or early 2021.
Since finding out our youngest son has cancer (Osteosarcoma), it has been one trial after another, including a trip to another state for a biopsy, enduring the grueling ordeal of a fractured leg, and the joys of chemotherapy which includes our family being separated for extended periods of time (just to name a few of our trials).
We have learned to appreciate the little things that we once took for granted, and we are thankful for the moments of relief from the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual anguish that has been our constant companion since November 15, 2019.
We have been blessed by so many people—even complete strangers—during this time, we just can’t thank them all enough. So many people have helped us financially, with meals, with cards and letters of encouragement for Kohen, with gifts for our kids, and with being there for us during this incredibly difficult time, including a wonderful visit from friends who I haven’t seen in 21 years who drove in from California for a visit and to bring gifts for Kohen.
I understand the clay is not owed an explanation from the potter as to why Kohen got cancer, for who am I?
I shall not ask, as some are tempted to do, why do bad things happen to good people? I already know that answer. By God’s standards there are no good people, for none are good, not even one . . . myself and my family included. The more appropriate question to ask is how can God, who knows the wickedness of my heart, allow me to live another day?
Grace. That is why. And that is why I do not to seek an explanation for why this is happening. The fact that I have drawn another breath as I write this is a testament to His mercy. That fact that I have lived a long, comfortable life, and been blessed with a wonderful family when I deserve none of this, is a sign of His grace. And if Kohen survives this ordeal, it isn’t something any of us are owed, but it would be a blessing beyond what our meager words could express.
When things are going good, we’re oftentimes too busy to recognize His mercy in our blessings. And when tragedy strikes, we’re oftentimes too busy grieving to recognize His sovereignty in our suffering. But in all things, even in the storms, we are to give thanks to the Lord just as Job says:
“The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
In the whirlwind of chaos that has become the new normal for us, we have been blessed to experience God’s mercies in this storm. Like how our family intersected with other families who have suffered the ravages of cancer and who have now become a support to us, including one of their children who survived cancer now being able to provide direct help to our son at the hospital.
During this storm we’ve also had the opportunity to experience the comfort of God’s sovereignty. On December 11, 2019, while Kohen was on his second day of his first round of chemotherapy in the hospital, he fractured his leg. As you can probably imagine, this became an even greater challenge for us. We quickly discovered that trying to perform even the slightest of movements caused excruciating pain for Kohen.
I remember being angry that this happened. It was just another layer of grief on top of a constantly growing mountain of tribulation. But once the dust settled I realized that—because of the tumor and the biopsy—it was only a matter of time before this break in Kohen’s leg would have happened. And then it occurred to me: by God’s sovereign grace Kohen didn’t fracture his leg at home. It happened at the hospital where all the treatment he needed could be immediately obtained. It was then I could see that behind a frowning providence, He hides a smiling face.
We are benefactors of unmerited grace, tender mercies, and the comforting sovereignty of God that reaches beyond our finite comprehension.
So, again, I don’t ask why this is happening to us, I only pray that we don’t miss the purpose of this trial when it’s finally revealed. It is also my prayer that through all of this we are being sanctified and can one day provide help and support to others in similar situations, like only those who’ve been through this themselves can do.