I find myself reaching back for before-cancer memories. The joyful skipping on the easy path before sorrow hitched a ride like a too-heavy backpack.
I always thought I would write funny stories. I thought that maybe someday when life slowed down I would write about the hilarity of life with nine children. I thought I might capture some of the joyful beauty of chaotic, noisy days.
My story–I thought it would be different than this.
Marissa thought her story would be different, too. Even after her cancer diagnosis, she thought God would heal her and use her journey. She had plans to help people struggling with physical needs. She had a list of people she wanted to bless with gifts of encouragements. She wanted to go back to teaching her preschool children with new purpose. She was always pushing through until she could get a bit of good news, until she could move on with the rest of her story.
I remember the day we found out the cancer had spread to her liver, and she understood it would be the thing that took her life. She understood that hers would be a dramatic short story instead of a long and lovely novel.
She understood that she would not be walking out of the valley.
She wept with sorrow, and there was this grievous knowing. No going back to the easy path. No normal life events or length of days. No escape from the battle.
I think she would want you to know that she struggled. That in those last weeks when things just kept spiraling downward, she was sad. She was in pain. She was weary.
As it turns out, she was right then dying, and none of us really knew.
And it was hard. It was hard because it was meant to be hard.
The curse of sin and all of its leading-to-death ramifications–it is grievous to God and impossible for us. Without the sin-bearer, God’s Son, we would be crushed and destroyed.
Dying is hard. This grieving–it is harder than I thought. And sometimes living is just very hard.
Our hard is meant to be hard. It is meant to be a glorious, eternal work. It is meant to establish us and grow us and make us like the Son of God!
And how could that be easy?
We can do the hard thing He’s called us to do. We are right now doing it, and with His help we can finish it. Farther along we’ll know all about it. Someday soon we’ll look back and marvel at the grace and recount the blessings of the story.
Someday soon all the hard will be done. We’ll see His face.
Let the risen Savior lift your weary head. Don’t be discouraged with this dusty, treacherous path. Look to the One Who leads you on. The One Who will shepherd you and carry you when you stumble. The One Who knows the way.
It’s meant to be hard.
It’s meant to lead you on to glory. It’s meant to make you like the Son of God.
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18
And we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son. Romans 8:28,29