Those who have gone before me and completed chemotherapy for cancer, offered me words of encouragement as I struggled to get through the months of chemo. They spoke about the time when the chemo would be in the rear view mirror, and life would look so different again.
The passenger side rear view mirror warns us that “Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear.” The chemo for me is still very close in my mind, even though it is now in my rear view mirror. My visit with the oncologist this week, the first since finishing the actual chemotherapy, was hopeful to me mostly because I didn’t face another dose of the toxins being used to try to kill the cancer cells. I just rejoice in not having to endure another dose of the chemo. The side and cumulative effects of the chemo continue. For me this means continued disruption in my digestive system, tiredness, low energy, and still not feeling well. Things are better for me spiritually and mentally. My white blood cell count while not quite normal has risen substantially. Red blood cell count is down and I am slightly anemic, but all these conditions should improve with time. Thanks be to God! Thanks also to all of you who have offered prayers on my behalf. I look forward to returning to more regular activities, and hoping for some “normal” health days. I offer some words from Psalm 103:1-18 –
Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
I’ve mentioned this before, but it is worth repeating here, words from a friend who is a doctor: the purpose of medical science is to remove all the obstacles to healing, so that God can then heal the person. This is actually the same goal for all healing ministries whether physical, mental or spiritual. In confession, we aim to remove those things which prevent us from being healed by God. Chemotherapy as harsh as it can be, also aims at eliminating those things which are preventing the body from being healed. Once we have cleansed our hearts, souls, minds, bodies, God can heal us. This is the synergy between God and us.
The LORD works vindication and justice for all who are oppressed. He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel. The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger for ever.
One of the most blessed features of our God is that God, unlike some of our family members, friends and neighbors, does not keep His anger forever. God is love, and God does not constantly chastise us or punish us. God forgives, God is merciful, God uses every means for our salvation. We thank God for everything, not just things we think are good. We thank God for all that we experience in this world, knowing that God loves us and is not eternally angry with us. God is patient and ever awaits our repentance and our turning to Him to seek His love and great mercy.
He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor requite us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father pities his children, so the LORD pities those who fear him.
God does not leave us in our sins, but removes our sins from us. This is part of how God heals us. God sending His Son into the world to die for us and because of our sins reveals exactly who God is and how God treats sin. God does not respond to sin as God is not limited by time. God acts towards us, God is not just reacting to us. God is love and it is God’s wish that everyone, including all sinners should turn to Him and receive life. This is what St. Paul experienced from God, which is why Paul became the great herald of God’s grace and mercy.
For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.
But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments.