Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Fear and Dread and Love and Hope

I had lunch with a dear friend last week whose husband has stage 4 cancer. My normal reaction to helping someone with a terminal disease (or really scary, hard stuff that I can't fix) is to pray. Prayer is powerful and I believe in it with all my heart. But that's where my help ends.  

I'm learning that we are called to do more than that. I'm learning that just because something is scary that it doesn't mean it has to be unapproachable.  I've never known how to act around someone who is this sick; it's not a skill we learn in school. I want to give them a hug, say I understand, then keep my distance until everything in their world is easy again. And it's just laughable, because my own father died of cancer when I  was 20. I should know how to act, right? 

Turns out, I'm not supposed to act at all. I haven't been called to audition for the role of supportive, serious, counselor in great time of distress.  God created me, goofy-comic-relief Nikki, to act in love.  He created me with a loud laugh and a memory for inappropriate stories and scatter brained ideas to love on those around me. Right now, one of those people around me is facing the loss of her husband, and I have been called to love on her in the way I know how; with smoothies, lunch, story telling, and loud laughing. 

But she's loving on me too. She's shown me what real hope looks like.  During our last lunch, she talked about her husband and his love of God and His word. She talked about how she wants to help him enjoy his last days. The sadness in her voice isn't about the impending loss, but of his current pain and lack of energy. She expresses gratitude for a full, blessed life together. She seeks strength to support him to her fullest.  Not once has she told me she's scared about what is going to happen. She knows the promises of the Lord and she is living in them. And that is real hope.  

Psalm 71:1: But as for me, I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more.

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