For the past week I have been overwhelmed…not by my cancer, but by thinking of the countless expressions of love, help, and encouragement I have received from friends, family, and even total strangers. It is a strange thing to be the object of special attention because of an illness like cancer. It’s hard to describe, but it is a combination of being encouraging, humbling, and sometimes just bizarre. Why do people go out of their way to visit me, make me a meal, help me financially, care for my children, or eat dinner at Chick-fil-a? Sure, there are plenty of days when I need help in those ways. But there aren’t any days when I deserve it!
It seems to me that having a serious medical issue (like cancer) is just one of a number of struggles people have. Telling people you have cancer evokes a certain amount of shock and sympathy in today’s culture, but it isn’t necessarily a more “important” struggle than the others. People struggle with loneliness, financial difficulty, strained relationships with a spouse or family member, the loss of a job, separation from a loved one in the military, and the list goes on. It’s easy to think about people who are struggling in those ways, but never really contemplate what it is like to be in their shoes walking through their struggles. Every person has his or her own battles that they are fighting day in and day out, and to a certain degree those battles go unnoticed by those around them. Part of what I have been learning through my struggle with cancer is that I need to be more aware of the struggles of those around me and show them the same compassion and love that others have shown me.
But in the end, the support and encouragement of others can only go so far. Everyone needs an ultimate, permanent solution for their struggles. You can ignore or distract yourself from your struggle for a time, but eventually you will come back to realizing that your struggle still remains unsolved. I know this may sound simplistic in a way, but I believe there is a single solution for every struggle people face. It is trusting and hoping in the God who is made heaven and earth (Psalm 121:2), who loves us and has freed us by His blood (Revelation 1:2), whose faithfulness reaches the clouds (Psalm 108:4), who provides for all our needs (Philippians 4:19), who never leaves or forsakes us (Joshua 1:5), and who powerfully holds onto us no matter what happens (Romans 8:35-39).
The band Third Day has a beautiful song called, “Cry Out to Jesus,” that portrays this truth very powerfully as it points to Jesus as the ultimate hope for all those who are hopeless in the struggles of life. You can watch the video for “Cry Out to Jesus” below.