I was sad. I was looking for signs of optimism as four of our close friends continue to deal with very significant health issues. And then, just last week, I learned that after two mastectomies over the last 31 years, one of the four now has been diagnosed with a fourth occurrence of breast cancer.
My emotional reaction upon learning her news was all over the place from “How is this fair?” to “What can I do to be supportive?” I felt the need to respond. Do I yell at God? Do I evoke the Old Testament custom of “gnashing my teeth?” Or, do I pray for wisdom to say the right words to her, pray for her strength through the uncertainties that lie ahead, pray for her medical team to find a successful path forward, and pray for all of those around her she can lean on.
You can probably guess where this is going. I chose the prayer route.
Turning to the Psalms, I read the first verse of Psalm 46:
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”
I then read Psalm 121 and verses 1-2, and 7-8 stood out:
“I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and earth.
The Lord will keep you from all harm – He will watch over your life;
The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”
I have told our friend I am praying for her. I trust she knows that the God I worship is “ever-present” and is with her all of the time and is especially close by whenever she needs comfort.
And it is because of God’s presence in my life I am able to set aside my sadness and feel a little less upset. What will happen to her is unknown. What is known is that God will be with her throughout.