Day five, six, seven and eight of radiation for my mom complete and the marathon continues. This new community feels a little more like home today which makes me shudder. Yet, I am so grateful for this physical dwelling place, the people who make its heart beat, who love so fully and have spoken life to the written words of my spirit and given them wings.
On this Thursday evening, my mind and heart continue to resonate with the lingering words of our worship and truths from God’s Word proclaimed this Easter. I wonder how the minds and hearts of Mary, Mary Magdalene, Jesus’ disciples and Christ followers were embracing the resurrection? What pain, defeat and struggle they must have known with His death and Jesus now miraculously made alive.
THEIR marathon toward Jesus death on a cross between two thieves began with:
• The appointed, tender heart of Mary, who fully received with honor, the request to carry the Son of God with these beautiful words, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” Matthew 1:38
• Jesus asked common lives to join Him by dropping their nets, leaving their vocations and surrendering their whole lives to follow Christ, their promised Messiah.
• The journey into the city on a donkey, Palm Sunday, Judas betrayal, The Last Supper, the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter’s betrayal, the accusations, trial and crucifixion.
My mind cannot imagine what it must have been like to walk alongside of Him, to be touched by the power of His glory, be swept up in God-breathed scenes of the miraculous and their lives bowed low in honor as He speaks life into those seated at His feet. The work of God and love for His creation would be fulfilled through their obedient lives. Could they really have known fully the magnitude of their days leading up to the cross?
How humbling to participate in the intimacy of ministry in the midst of prophecies fulfilled. I imagine His presence drawing them close to Him as He cared for each needful place in their lives. In the tender moments when they so organically touched love in a way they had never known. My heart weighs heavy as I consider their treasured Messiah and friend suffering, enduring the cross and dying.
After the resurrection, word spread like wildfire. He is risen. As would be their heart, I imagine hope-filled days as Jesus continued to teach and speak life into their calling and the message of salvation once for all! Jesus, their God and King, would tell them that He would return to heaven but assured them that He would not leave them alone. The promise that the Holy Spirit would come in all power to help, comfort and assure their days through His nearness through the indwelling would likely confuse and overwhelm but in Him they had put their trust. That they could be sure of.
So it is in our lives too. We, so small in the shadow of His greatness bring our hearts and every broken place for emotional, physical and spiritual healing. It is there love meets us. Just. As. We. Are. His crucifixion, burial and resurrection remind us that the gift of eternal life came with so great a sacrifice. Yet, this Easter, the deeper treasure that hope has become to my family is the breath of peace and the nearness of God with us when all that is around us spins quickly out of control- Cancer.
It may be for you that one phone call, one doctor’s visit, one bill you cannot pay, disease that threatens to overcome a future, etc…. There God reveals His love and care for His beloved. Hope when all else seems shattered. In this, the Holy Spirit’s beautiful way, lovingly holds us as we learn anew to find grace, as we too glimpse eternity with a veiled view of the hope, future and the what is to come.
The waiting room talk at CaroMont Cancer Center is light-hearted today. The symbolic “I Survived Radiation Bell” resounds with three rings that represent the restoration of balance, harmony and life energy. We all look up, connecting us once again to hope and to each other. It is in these moments that community is built around a common connection.
The ringing of the bell hovers over us in a wave of assurance. We then join the celebration and cheer alongside of each other. Every heart reminded that this phase of the journey will have an end. We entrust the brave heart of the ringer to the Lord as it trusts that their final radiation treatment will once and for all put an end to this cancer diagnosis. Many will beat this evil disease and for so many hearts, there will be celebrations and rejoicing just as I imagine Peter running to the tomb to see for Himself that, just as they had said, Jesus was not there and then excitedly running off to share the good news.
He. Is. Alive.
Ring this bell
Three times well
Its toll to clearly say,
My treatment’s done
This course is run
And I am on my way!
You are a survivor! Celebrate Life!
I long for the bell’s ring and celebration to signify the end of radiation for my mom that will allow her (our family) to breathe again, to walk in this new beginning with hard fought joy! For without hope, we lose heart. The cross reminds us that every good and perfect ending often begins with pain and suffering. Yes life. We know the complete full because Jesus “endured” the cross on our behalf.
The power to “endure” is my favorite Greek word in the Bible:
Hupomeno- to remain, abide, not recede or flee, to persevere: under misfortunes and trials to hold fast to one’s faith in Christ, to endure, bear bravely and calmly
“…we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.” Hebrews 12:1-3 (NLT)
No matter the waiting, lingering and hard trusting, enduring place, our heart’s battle in this world pale in comparison to that which Christ endured. Our joy awaits us as we are carried along, the Holy Spirit’s presence holds us close. In these moments, we hold tight and surrender. Just as God did in sending a savior. Just as Mary did in receiving the Lord’s gift as His will. Just as Jesus endured. We too walk in the power to live out the path before us for His kingdom come, His will be done.
We sang this song in Easter Sunday. Every word has echoed and drawn my heart to its own wanderings through God’s Word this week. A restless soul finding peace among the stories of God’s beloved who faced their own “valleys of the shadow” and found God’s pure and perfect love wrapped up tight in goodness. God continues to do so much RIGHT and for that I will always give thanks. And while there will be days that we battle, the darkness, when the hard things try to stifle snd skew our view of the eternal. God’s light refuses not to shine the light of hope when it comes to the faithful care of His children.
At this day’s end….. I ask you to find the good path where we can collectively walk in His power, sing, give thanks in ALL things and Celebrate this beautiful life that we have been given. So. Be. It.
Behold the lamb of God who has taken away the sins of the world. Hallelujah!!! There is no greater love.
Lamb Of God
You came from heavens throne
Acquainted with our sorrow
To trade the debt we owed
Your suffering for our freedom.
The Lamb of God, in my place
Your blood poured out, my sin erased
It was my death you died
I am raised to life
Hallelujah, the lamb of God
My name upon your heart
My shame upon your shoulders
The power of sin undone
The cross for my salvation
There is no greater love
There is no greater love
The savior lifted up
There is no greater love