Marissa is sleeping across from me in the hospital bed. She has been running a low-grade fever in the evenings for a few days with increased shortness of breath, so her oncologist wanted her evaluated to rule out an infection or lung embolism. We spent 19 hours in the emergency room–they ran a bunch of tests and then we waited for a room upstairs so they could admit her overnight.
So it was in the middle of a darkened ER room when we were already so weary from waiting that we heard the numbing news. Marissa’s cancer has spread. More in her liver, and now in her lung and bones. Spine and sternum and ribs.
The trial drug has failed to halt the progression. There is no miracle today.
When the doctor left, I climbed up on the stretcher and we sat quietly. Still so numb. Numb, but aware that this is one of the saddest pages in the story.
When I was younger, I loved to read stories that made me cry. Age taught me that sadness is real, and now I hesitate. I protect myself from sadness.
And yet it has followed me. It has found me.
I would despair if I did not know the Storyteller.
I would despair if I did not have the promise of His strong and sympathetic arms to carry us. The promise of His covenant love to sustain us. The knowledge of His almighty power. The assurance of His comforting presence.
I would despair if I did not know the end of the story.
Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; surely I will help you; surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
Your righteousness, O God, reaches the high heavens. You who have done great things, O God, who is like you? You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again. Psalm 71:19,20