One of the more devastating realities of getting Leukemia for Jasmine was losing her hair. Since she was diagnosed three weeks ago, this was something we knew was coming, but dreaded entirely. And knowing it was coming didn’t make it any less devastating.
It’s like knowing that a thief will come and steal something from you but not being able to stop it. Well, the thief of hair loss has struck, and Jasmine is beginning to lose what was left of her hair after shaving it. Although it was inevitable, it is still devastating.
This reminds me that life is far more out of our control than we want it to be. Often, things we don’t want to happen do happen and visa versa. Good people, bad people, deserving people, undeserving people – no matter how we label ourselves, circumstances in this life don’t seem to notice or care.
I’m sure many of us have heard the phrase cancer doesn’t discriminate. [You could also fill in that blank with any of these: mental illness, disease, miscarriage, pain, etc]. It’s true! It can happen to anyone.
There are very few guarantees in this world, but there is one we know for sure because it is said and shown throughout the entirety of scripture: God always offers us His PRESENCE through everything, as much of Him as we want.
“I will be with you when you pass through the waters, and when you pass through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. You will not be scorched when you walk through the fire, and the flame will not burn you.” Isaiah 43:2
It’s interesting that God says, when you go through these difficult things, I will be with you. He doesn’t promise that if we follow Him we will be safe from all things difficult and uncomfortable. He says they will happen anyway because there is sin in this world, but He promises to be with us through them. We don’t have to go through things alone.
“When he calls out to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble. I will rescue him and give him honor.” Psalm 91:15
In the hard times, He is with us. So what difference could it make in our lives if we allow God to enter into our pain and walk through it with us?
First of all, we have His empathy. He feels with us. He mourns with us. When we feel like we are all alone in our struggle, HE knows how we are feeling. We are seen and understood. In the Bible, when Mary and Martha’s brother, Lazarus, died, Jesus wept with them.
Secondly, we have His peace. When our human selves are crippled under the weight of fear – the fear of “what-ifs”, the fear of the outcome, the fear of the painful process – we often drown in hopelessness. But when we have God with us, He can quiet our fears and give us an unwavering peace that doesn’t change when our daily circumstances do.
Thirdly, we have His joy. When everything is wrong, we can still be content. How is it that in the most distressing moments we can still have times of laughter and glimpses of good? It’s only God. And the evidence of Jasmine’s joy is the smile on her face day after day.
The pain is present whether we like it or not. So will we walk alone or will we let Him in?
God’s presence doesn’t take away the pain, but He gives us the strength to face the pain.
When God is with us, we have so much that we wouldn’t have on our own. It’s not just in the hard times that He is near – it’s in the celebrations too.
And right now we are celebrating the results from Jasmine’s bone marrow biopsy! Jasmine’s bone marrow sample was extracted two weeks ago and the results came back that she is LOW RISK! This is amazing news, as it points to the high likelihood of only chemotherapy being needed to treat the Leukemia.
In the sorrows, He is near.
In the celebrations, He is near.