Monday, February 22

God still holds on to you 

“I am convinced that neither death, nor life…nor things present, nor things to come … nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 

Romans 8:38 

The voice on the telephone says, “… biopsy results … invasive ductal carcinoma …” and instantly your world is changed forever. You read, study, try to learn everything known about breast cancer. Your medical team is assembled — surgeon, radiologists, medical oncologist, radiation oncologist, your primary care physician. It all begins — surgery, more biopsies, chemotherapy, a life-threatening reaction to the chemo, radiation. You are caught up in a whirlwind of tests, treatments, fatigue, fear and uncertainty, and time seems to be moving so fast you can’t keep up, yet drags on in vague slow motion.

There is love — deep, constant, enduring love. A loving husband who stands beside you through every test, appointment and treatment. Pastors, friends, family in constant touch. Emails, cards, flowers, meals, prayers … the indescribable blessings you feel from hundreds of people praying, just for you!

Most of all, it is the sure and certain awareness of God’s loving presence that carries you through. You are enveloped by God’s protective blanket of comfort, peace and love … at 3 am, when you stop trying to sleep and get up to sit by the window, gazing at stars reflected in the lake. When you feel so sick and scared that you can’t even find energy to pray, and God hears your silent cry. You feel God’s presence in a way you have never felt it before. And you hang on. You don’t have any special secrets for survival … you just hang on. When you feel too weak to hang on, God still holds on to you. And you find peace and strength.

Immediately after my diagnosis, I put together a “Comfort Packet,” a paper version, plus a computer file accessible on my iPhone wherever I am, as frequent medical appointments and tests continue. It contains my favorite psalm (Psalm 139), my favorite scripture passage (Romans 8:28-39), the texts of several hymns, prayers for people with cancer, quotes about cancer, funny true stories, a special anniversary card from my husband, Carl. These comfort and reassure me, reminding me that God is always with me, and that God brings good from even the greatest difficulties.

Dear God, please help us all to truly know that nothing can separate us from your loving presence. Amen. 

Mary Ida Yost


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