I remember sitting with Mike in a psychologist’s office fifteen years ago as part of the Fred Hutch assessment process for bone marrow transplant patients. She made a comment that struck me as rather odd. She said, “Let’s get you through this so you can get back to your life.” I couldn’t help but wonder, “What is ‘this’ if it isn’t our life?” Our life had certainly taken a turn we didn’t expect, but like it or not, “this” was our life.
C.S. Lewis wrote, “The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own’, or ‘real’ life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life – the life God is sending one day by day: what one calls one’s ‘real life’ is a phantom of one’s own imagination.”
More often than not, life does not unfold as we planned. An unexpected reality jolts us awake and we realize that this body we inhabit will only house us for a very short time. I used to think “the valley of the shadow of death” in the twenty-third Psalm referred to a season of sickness or fear that someone might pass through briefly, but the reality is that this Valley of the shadow of death is where we all live out our “real” lives. Being aware of this reality should help us to live and love with intentionality, while wisely preparing for eternity. David wrote in Psalm 39:5-7, “LORD, reveal to me the end of my life and the number of my days. Let me know how short-lived I am. You, indeed, have made my days short in length, and my life span as nothing in Your sight. Yes, every mortal man is only a vapor. Certainly, man walks about like a mere shadow. Indeed, they frantically rush around in vain, gathering possessions without knowing who will get them. Now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You.”
Our hope is most definitely in the Lord as we adjust to our “real life” with Mike’s stage three adenocarcinoma pancreatic cancer! We may be facing many challenges and uncertainties, but one thing we know for certain, our God is for us and He’s given us so much to be thankful for! We have a wonderful family and many awesome friends and prayer warriors all over the world! Our flights back to the states were relatively smooth with minimal turbulence. We were even able to stretch out in business class as we flew over the big pond. Then we were blessed to spend several days with our daughter’s family and four of our grandchildren before returning home. As we settle back into our house in Washington, we find ourselves very thankful that the Lord didn’t supply the renters that we had been praying for! (Which seemed puzzling to us at the time, but now it makes perfect sense.) Just another reminder that trusting the Lord to write our life story is the best decision we’ve ever made! Only He can see the big picture and know how best to answer our prayers!
“Commit your way to the Lord; trust Him, and He will act.” – Psalm 37: 5
“Be silent before the Lord and wait expectantly for Him.” – Psalm 37: 7