It’s odd…I was just thinking about this post that I wrote almost exactly a year ago…and how things really haven’t changed much since then. I still have a lot of those same feelings as I did a year ago. Stressed about upcoming treatments. Feeling inadequate as a caregiver and wife. Helpless and clueless as to what I can really do to ease any of Brian’s anxiety or symptoms. Feeling like a burden and added stress that Brian doesn’t need. An upcoming move to a new place. Not knowing exactly what the best decision is regarding which treatment to do next. No one told me I needed to study up on being a good decision maker. It’s one thing to decide if I should wear red or blue…but choosing between toxic drugs? That one wasn’t a problem-solving question on any exam I had.
As I was brushing my teeth last night after a long, hard evening, I was reminding myself what love is all about. I think I’ve heard 1 Corinthians 13 quoted about a million times in my life, but somehow, I’m not sure it’s ever dawned on me that the very first thing love is described as is “patient.” 1 Corinthians 13:4 says “Love is patient.” Man, I don’t think anything else could describe my life better than that. I feel like more patience is required of me than I can even muster up most times. And I’m not just talking about having patience with the medical field and waiting for doctors appointments (although that most definitely applies!). Patience is required of me when speaking with Brian, trying to stay in a calm, relaxed tone…not too rushed, not too hurried. Patience when trying to read Brian’s emotions, attitude or the severeness of his itching at the moment. Patience when I want to just hurry up and get something done, but knowing that I’ve got to remain at a calm, steady pace in fear that I may induce anxiety and escalate the itching. Patience when I want to get on to the next chapter of life, but I’m still in this one. Patience in waiting for discernment or wisdom when a decision has to be made. Patience in wanting to do an activity but knowing that it will probably require too much energy. Patience with Brian as he tears up his skin in an attempt to scratch the itch. My patience-bucket is in a deficit, I think.
I find myself getting angry at the littlest things. My Watts temper is most definitely on the prowl these days. I’ve kicked chairs, shoved boxes, punched pillows and thrown countless objects at the wall. Cancer is stupid. I don’t understand the point of it all.
1 Peter 1:3-9 says “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
Somehow, we’re supposed to be happy about these trials because these trials are supposed to prove that our faith is genuine. And because it’s genuine, we’ll receive salvation for our souls. This is where my faith is definitely tested. I can’t SEE how this is good. I can’t FATHOM how enduring these trials will bring glory to Jesus. And I surely don’t understand why these things are needed in order to receive the goal of my faith, which is salvation. I can’t say that I am filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy because of these things.
But, if having to go through these trials in order to test my faith means that someday I will see Jesus face to face, with no more mourning, no more grief, no more itching, no more pain, no more crying, no more agony, no more grueling decisions, no more bleak prognosis, no more cancer, no more fatigue, no more arguments, no more death……then that is glorious, indeed.
Maybe that’s what “living hope” is all about.