It is my honor to host “Soul Spa” author Sharla Fritz for the Faith Notes 2015 Summer Blog Tour as she shares her own story of trusting God when life hurts. I pray that Sharla’s words will bless you as they have me:
The year started with ominous news. A few days into 2015 our family doctor called with the results of my husband’s recent CT scan. “Sorry to say—” His voice broke. “It looks like lymphoma.”
So began a journey we never wanted. After the initial phone call there were biopsies and PET scans. My husband, John, had appointments with cancer specialists and oncology nurses. We learned the jargon of sickness that no one really wants to know.
The first day of chemotherapy, John sat in the infusion chair for seven hours having two powerful medicines pumped into the port near his right shoulder. The first medicine had to be administered slowly – for five hours it slowly dripped into his veins. When the oncology nurse came with the second bag, she wore a Hazmat-style suit of goggles, gown, and gloves. And this is what they are putting inside my husband? I thought.
A few days later the side-effects kicked in. Since the chemo destroyed all fast-growing cells, even the cells lining John’s mouth and throat were affected. His extremely sore throat meant that he could barely talk. He was desperately tired but couldn’t sleep. A throbbing ache parked in his head and wouldn’t leave. Cancer hurts.
We all have seasons when life hurts. What do you do? During our crisis I read the biblical account of a woman who suffered from bleeding for twelve years. This woman hurt. She suffered physically as no doubt the bleeding caused pain and weakness. She suffered emotionally because, as a woman who was bleeding, she was considered unclean. No one was allowed to touch her. She even suffered spiritually as the same uncleanness prevented her from worshiping in the temple.
After visiting doctors who could do nothing to help, she was probably losing hope. But then she heard about Jesus and his ability to heal blind eyes, weak limbs, and deaf ears. Hope rose in her heart once again and she went to Him. She probably wanted to run but was too weak. “If only I can touch his clothes,” she kept telling herself. “I know I will be healed.” As soon as she pushed through the crowds and touched the hem of Jesus’ cloak, the bleeding stopped. Jesus told her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you” (Mark 9:34).
Faith doesn’t come easy when life hurts. I certainly didn’t feel like I had great faith. Even though I believed that my all-powerful God could heal my husband, doubt and anxiety crept into my soul. But when I read the story again, I thought perhaps this woman also never thought of herself as a model of great faith. She only knew she had to get to Jesus.
Maybe that’s the answer, I thought. When life hurts, when faith is anemic and hope is hard to find, I simply need to go to Jesus. Although my husband’s journey with lymphoma has been hard, it has drawn me closer to the savior. When I felt overwhelmed, I knew I could find some relief in his presence. Like the hurting woman, I kept telling myself: If I can just get to Jesus.
Thankfully, after six months of chemotherapy, John’s lymphoma is in remission. He is not cured, but his doctors assure him that he will have a good long life. My heart overflows in thankfulness that I will have the chance to spend more beautiful years with my loving husband.
It has been hard seeing the guy who never gets sick, struggle with a life-threatening illness. But I am thankful for a God who is always available, always waiting for me to come to him. Faith has been hard to come by in this season of life. Yet, as the tough times have drawn me to Jesus again and again, our relationship has deepened.
Sharla Fritz and her now healthy husband live in Aurora, Illinois. Sharla is an inspirational speaker and the author of “Soul Spa: 40 Days of Spiritual Renewal.” She helps harried people find soul rest. Connect with her at www.sharlafritz.com