This past week there was a funeral for a 19-year-old daughter of a deacon. Alexis did not win the battle against cancer.
Although I did not know Alexis, it immediately took me back to 1986 when I was diagnosed with cancer at the age 25. Why did I survive when so many others have not. I continue to remember two young ladies in particular who were younger than I was and fighting for their lives at the same hospital as I was in, but they did not make it. Why have I been given nearly 37 additional years at this point, but they were not given that chance?
Sharon actually died on the day I got married to Margaret. Why did I get well, but this nursing student from the University of Missouri did not? I was visiting her in the hospital on Independence (July 4, 1988) weekend. We watched fireworks from the window of the hospital lounge area on the cancer floor which overlooked the Missouri River. I had no way of knowing that a few short months later her battle would end. She died that October.
I also met Gina in the hospital. I did not realize it at the time I first met her, but I knew her brother-in-law from high school. We played sports against each other. I did not make the connection until sometime later down the road. Gina was full of life. Sadly, her life was cut short as well.
In addition to these young ladies, I also had a neighbor whose life was cut short in an accident less than a week before my wedding. Patty was a beautiful soul.
All three of these individuals were younger than me. I can only imagine the grief experienced by the parents, siblings, and family members of these three beautiful people.
I don't have the answers to the big questions of life. I have simply tried to walk in faith and make my life count. I have attempted to dream as big as God's grace. I am sure I have fallen way short of that, but I hope I have been a faithful ambassador of Christ at least in some small way during these years of life. I hope I have been "Articulating Hope" during this sojourn of life.
I went for a walk this evening at 9:00 PM to get some exercise and pray. It was cold, but at least the wind was not blowing 40 mph the way it was earlier in the day. I used this time to pray specifically for all those battling cancer. Several people in my circle of family and friends have recently received a diagnosis of cancer, and I vividly remember the flood of emotions that come with hearing that diagnosis. One of these individuals is facing surgery next week. I prayed for a blanket of protection to surround him in the hospital.
There is no magic wand to make it go away. I can only offer my words of encouragement and my intercessory prayer for those who are hurting. To each of you carrying a cross of suffering of one kind or another, may you be filled with God's grace and strength during your journey! May the Divine Physician bestow His healing upon you!