This past weekend, my Sunday School class was making a list of God’s promises to us. We brought up the indwelling of God’s Spirit, our individual gifts given by the Spirit, all things working for good, and many others. How good it felt to remember God’s faithfulness to do what he said. The one that stuck out to me, though, was the promise from 1 Corinthians 10:13 — that our trials and temptations are not unique to us, and that God will never give us more than we can bear. Really.
Of course I was encouraged to hear that even this trial of cancer and chemotherapy is not more than I can bear. Although some days that can be hard to believe. But I was more encouraged to know that I am not the only person to be going through this trial. Many have, do, and will know the difficulty of what I am facing. And that this is true of any trial or temptation I face or that you face. We are all in this together.
Jesus tells us to exchange our burdens for his in Matthew 11, but he also wants us to bear one another’s burdens. Paul says in Galatians 6 that in doing so, in helping others through their pain and difficulties, that we are fulfilling the law of Christ. I see this as an important means of grace that Jesus provides so our trials don’t overwhelm us. You all have been serving that function for me – keeping this trial in the realm of something I can bear.
I want to do this for you too, to help you stand up under the difficult circumstances you are facing. And I know you are going through rough times just like the rest of us. A few of you have confided these difficulties to me, only to feel guilty, supposing my trial is bigger or more difficult. Not so. I’ve been through many trials over the years, and each trial I’ve faced is big in the moment. I may compare my own trials among themselves and find one to be easier than I supposed at the time, in hindsight. But comparing my trials to someone else’s never works. They are all trials to be faced, to be born by others, to be relinquished to Jesus so He can give us his own easy burdens.
The past few days have been good and hopeful, both physically and spiritually. I have felt better and have been able to do more activity than I have in months; I have seen God’s hand of grace and provision overwhelm my spirit; and I have had good conversations with friends and family that have lifted my soul. My friend Kelly has been praying the prayer of Peter for me, that grace and peace would be mine in the fullest measure (1 Peter 1:2). God is graciously answering that prayer.
Today, I am sitting in a hospital bed waiting for my fourth (of six) chemotherapy treatment. My mom is here with me, my nurse is both fun and competent, I was able to eat lunch. Yesterday, in preparation for being admitted, I discovered my cancer antigen level which is tested with a blood draw went down even further — it’s now a 10, which is in the range the doctor was looking for.
Though tragedy is happening and the world is at war, in my heart there is peace knowing Jesus is walking with me through this time.