Just got off the phone with my mom and got the news about my aunt’s biopsy. It is cancer, but more tests are needed to determine stage or treatment plan. It does seem to be contained to just one lung though, so that is a blessing.
It made we think of one of my favorite Christian songs: “Blessings” by Laura Story, who I had the privilege of seeing in concert with Stephen Curtis Chapman last year. This song has brought me to tears on so many occasions. Someone sang it in church shortly after my dad’s passing, and I thought I was going to have to leave. You know the kind of sobbing that makes your body start convulsing? Yeah, that’s what was happening. I wasn’t sure I would make it through, but I did.
What’s important to understand though is that the tears weren’t just from sadness. There was joy within the tears also; the words of this song are so true. A thousand sleepless nights, my greatest disappointment, my hardest night – they were in fact His mercies in disguise. I’ll share just a few:
1. I got to share a lot of one-on-one time with my dad.
2. I got to share a lot stories, smiles and laughter with my dad.
3. I got to share a lot of hugs and kisses with my dad.
The “thought for the day” in my daily devotional said, “The trials we endure can bring us closer to God.” The devotional, written by Samuel Winchester, shared a story about perspective. He talked about his frequent flying and how sometimes he gazes out the window at all the beauty and wonder. Other times, he is squished in between two other passengers.
Yet he posed the question: “What is the difference between these two situations?” Nothing really. It’s the same plane, the same view. What had changed was his perspective. Winchester reminds us that we need to let God shape our perspective during the trials of this life. If we focus merely on trying to escape the pain, we risk missing God’s blessings.
It may be hard to imagine, but in my dad’s last year of life, when Alzheimer’s had robbed him of his mind and he didn’t even know who I was, I count that year, that time spent with him – the trials of this life – as God’s blessings. I am truly thankful God allowed me to travel through that valley with my dad. What an amazing gift I was given. If I had merely tried to escape the pain, I would have missed all the blessings God had planned for me as I traveled that journey with my dad.
So once again we pray for healing and to have our suffering eased; if that is not the answer we receive, let us allow God to shape our perspective and help us find the blessings hidden amid our tears. Help us be more like Paul: “I have learned how to be content in any circumstance.” Philippians 4:11.
Pull up a chair and let’s talk.