Celebrating the End of the Beginning

Yesterday, I received my final chemotherapy.  The oncology nurses celebrated with bubbles and party horns.  I was thinking more of grander fireworks.

Rather than feeling that I reached the promised land, I identified more with Moses and Miriam who after escaping from slavery in Egypt and then from the pursuing Pharaoh and the chariot charging Egyptian army broke into a song of thanksgiving.

Moses sang in Exodus 15:2 –

The LORD is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation;
He is my God, and I will praise Him;
My father’s God, and I will exalt Him.

Then Miriam sang in Exodus 15:21 –

“Sing to the LORD,
For He has triumphed gloriously!


I know I face weeks of recovery from the chemo side effects, and this week and the next will be the worse.  That’s why I don’t feel like I’ve come to the border of the promised land.  I’m still just on the other side of the sea that swallowed the Egyptian army.  I can catch my breath for the moment, but there is a long, unknown journey ahead.  Fortunately many others have walked that path.  And Christ Jesus has proven Himself to be my constant companion on my sojourn through life.

I’ll offer for today a Psalm of David composed as a hymn of thanksgiving for recovery from a grave illness. [Grave illness is a very clever play on words – is a grave illness a sickness unto death?  It was used so wittily by Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet when Mercutio is mortally wounded in a sword fight and is asked if the wound is serious.  Mercutio quips, “No, tis not so wide as a church door or as deep as a well.  But tis enough, twill serve.  Ask for me tomorrow and you shall find me a grave man.”  Gallows humor for sure.  But such thinking has been with me for the past 3 months in the course of my chemotherapy.]

Psalm 30

Thanksgiving for Recovery from Grave Illness
A Psalm Of David.

I will extol you, O LORD, for you have drawn me up,
and did not let my foes rejoice over me.
O LORD my God, I cried to you for help,
and you have healed me.
O LORD, you brought up my soul from Sheol,
restored me to life from among those gone down to the Pit.
Sing praises to the LORD, O you his faithful ones,
and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger is but for a moment;
his favor is for a lifetime.
Weeping may linger for the night,
but joy comes with the morning.
As for me, I said in my prosperity,
“I shall never be moved.”
By your favor, O LORD,
you had established me as a strong mountain;
you hid your face;
I was dismayed.
To you, O LORD, I cried,
and to the LORD I made supplication:
“What profit is there in my death,
if I go down to the Pit?
Will the dust praise you?
Will it tell of your faithfulness?
Hear, O LORD, and be gracious to me!
O LORD, be my helper!”
You have turned my mourning into dancing;
you have taken off my sackcloth
and clothed me with joy,
so that my soul may praise you and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever.


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