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Archive for the ‘Fear’ Category

My Source of Hope

Last Tuesday I had my surgery for breast cancer.  Apart from the normal pre-operative nervousness, I entered surgery fully trusting in the Lord. While not finding any metastasized cancer in the lymph nodes would have been the ideal outcome, that was not the case.  With cancer found in the surgically removed sentinel node, ten other nodes were removed for analysis.  My oncologist will share the results at my Thursday appointment.

I accept the results as God’s perfect plan for my life and do not doubt His power to get me through this next phase of treatment.  But I still daily have small struggles with fear.  My gracious and loving heavenly Father has gently reminded me of the hope I have in Him and that my future is in His hands. I would like to share with you today something I wrote last Easter, shortly after Jim’s promotion to Heaven, that has helped guide my thinking today.

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A little more than five weeks have passed since Jim’s death. While I believe I am doing well, each day I learn a bit more about the grieving process.  Actually, I think I have grieved more in this past week than in the first four. On Easter Sunday, especially, a whole gamut of emotions flooded the gaping hole in my heart.

Resurrection Sunday, as we refer to it in Spanish, was Jim’s favorite holiday.  For me, as well, the victory and hope associated with the resurrection of Christ have always been at the core of my belief system and are my daily source of strength. Just as I attended the Good Friday service in order to thank God for sending Jesus to die in my place, I anticipated the Sunday services as a time to thank Him for Christ’s resurrection.

Attending Easter service without Jim was a new experience for me, and I must admit made me more vulnerable.  I first attended the English service. By the end of the last verse of the closing song, “Because He Lives,” the tears were streaming down my cheeks.  “And then one day I’ll cross that river, I’ll fight life’s final war with pain; And then as death gives way to victory, I’ll see the lights of glory and I’ll know He lives.”

I mentally reviewed Jim’s valiant battle with pain, and I wept as I wondered what he must have felt knowing he was facing his final battle. It hurt me that he had to suffer so.  What had he thought and felt in those final moments of life?  What was it like for him when he actually breathed his last breath and then saw his Savior face to face?

My emotions wavered between sorrow ― sorrow for all Jim had suffered and that he was not there by my side to share the celebration of the resurrection ― and joy in knowing the victory he continues to celebrate in Jesus’ presence. Through falling tears I sang the victorious chorus:  “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow; Because He lives, all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future.  And life is worth the living just because He lives.”*  The hope expressed in these words enables me to face each day.

Drying my tears, I began greeting those who arrived for the Spanish service.  As part of the meaningful Easter service, I had been asked to sing a solo.  I did not know if I could get through a song.  At the same time, I knew that affirming my own faith in the victory of the resurrection would be therapeutic. And that it was.

For many Easters I have sung “They Could Not,” but never with the feeling and meaning of this year.  I missed seeing Jim sitting in the front row, with his proud smile of approval and his exuberant “Amen!” at the end.  Thinking about Jim’s victory over death now as he is in the presence of his Savior empowered me.  When I translated the song into Spanish years ago, the only way I could fit the meaning into the music was to end the song with “¡Gloria a Dios, Resucitó!  ¡Resucitó!”  “Praise the Lord! He arose! He arose!”  ”  And, oh, the victory I felt as the song soared to its climax!  The entire congregation fairly exploded with joy at that beautiful thought!  I sat down and sobbed when I finished, thanking God for the reality of our hope and for enabling me to sing glorious praises to our risen Lord now and for all eternity!

*Song by Gloria and William J. Gaither©1971

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