Sunday, February 25, 2018

The Purpose In Suffering

Yesterday, I was reminded of something important. Late in the day, as I was checking my emails, I received notification that someone had left a comment on one of my blog posts. I have my account set up so I can moderate comments as they come in because, in the past, I've received some pretty racy spam comments that shocked me to my core when they were posted without my knowledge.

As I read the comment the reader left, I went back to that post I'd made in October of 2014. Re-reading the post brought back a flood of memories, some good, and some not so good.

In the post, I was reminded of a lesson God had taught me. It's been almost 4 years since that original post and He's still teaching me reasons for my suffering.

You'd think, by now, my suffering would have ended. You'd think, I'd be much stronger and more healthy than I was back in 2014 after surgery and treatment, but I'm not. Daily, I'm in pain. Some days are worse than others, but there's never a day without some discomfort.

I try hard not to mention it. My husband is really the only one who sees my constant struggles. I try hard to keep my physical pain from my children and grandchildren. There's nothing they can do to help me other than pray, so why bother them with it?

When my spine screams in agony, or when my arms are swollen so tight they feel like they'll burst, I have to remember, God has allowed this into my life. I have to trust that He knows what He's doing. I have to trust He's using this for my benefit. It isn't always easy, in fact, most days it's really hard. And, I do spend a lot of time on the floor of my closet in tears crying out to Him, but I know I'm not forgotten. When I do give Him my agony and pain, He gives me His peace. And that's enough.

Tomorrow, I'll see the new oncologist. I'd be lying if I didn't say I was nervous. Although I'm coming up on my four-year cancerversary (July 9, 2018), every visit to the cancer treatment center is scary. It's always concerning when the lab results come in. I can't help wonder if my tumor marker will be up and more tests will need to be done.

I canceled the MRI I was supposed to have done last week. I'll be talking with the new oncologist about this and get his feelings before rescheduling. If he feels it will be beneficial, then I'll do it. If not, I'll wait.

This morning, as I read my Bible, I was reminded that Jesus is the Good Shepherd. I always wondered why He had to qualify Himself to those to whom He was speaking. In the Greek language, the word good is translated, "Kalos." This word describes someone who is noble, wholesome, good, and beautiful. It signifies not only that which is good inwardly—character—but also that which is attractive outwardly. It is an innate goodness. Therefore, in using the phrase “the good shepherd,” Jesus is referencing His inherent goodness, His righteousness, and His beauty. As shepherd of the sheep, He is the one who protects, guides, and nurtures His flock.

As I thought about my Shepherd, Jesus, I was reminded that I am a lowly sheep. Sheep need to be protected, guided, and cared for. That is exactly what Jesus is doing for me.

While I continue my journey through breast cancer, I can trust Him to lead me exactly where I need to go.

His purpose for my suffering is only completely known to Him but as I follow after Him, I know that every ache and pain will soon be erased one day, and that makes it bearable.

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