Chemotherapy went much better this second round, and I am so thankful to the Lord. I am still experiencing some nausea, fatigue and pain, but in much more manageable chunks. Thank you for your well wishes and prayers for me over the weekend.

Unfortunately, yesterday evening was one of my worst times, so I didn’t get to join with friends as planned to light the first Advent candle of the season. I hope you did.

I have been reflecting differently this year on the anticipation of Jesus’ comings. I typicially think of advent in three ways — Jesus coming to the earth incarnate, Jesus incarnating himself in my heart through salvation, and Jesus coming to reign ultimately on “that day.” In the midst of cancer, each one of these comings seems more significant, more important that it happened, happens, will happen.

This morning as I was finishing up a chapter on Job in Michael Card’s A Sacred Sorrow, I found words for my advent thoughts this morning. Though I haven’t experienced God’s absence in this time quite like Job did during the initial days of his sorrow, I have found my interactions with God to be more subtle, more quiet. And in this stillness, they call me with a more profound sense of urgency to see and meet with my wonderful Savior. Here’s how Card describes it:

“In the end, the real miracle of Job is the spiritual intuition of Jesus he discovers through his pain and deep sense of abandonment by God. It provides a glimpse inside the mystery of just how God uses a false perception of His absence (for indeed, His very nature makes it impossible for Him not to be everywhere) to awaken in us the hunger for Immanuel (“God with us”). . . . Without the pain, he would never have know the need. Without the need, he would have never seen ahead to the One who will perfectly fulfill that need. The shadow of Jesus of Nazareth is there in Job. His prayers of protest are only a small drop in a sea of laments that would eventually call forth the coming of Jesus.” (p.59)

Advent is an expectant time, a time of joy and beauty. But it also is rooted in the reality of suffering, from the Man of Sorrows and those who follow after him. Oh, for the day when suffering has ended, however.