I felt like giving up when I heard the news of my husband’s cancer diagnosis almost three years ago. How would we go on? I didn’t want to walk through this. It was too much. And suffering never comes at the right time, does it?
It’s true that hearing the “C” word is like being punched in the stomach. I wanted to throw up. I remember pulling in to our driveway after getting the call on our way home from picking our son up. We sat in silence. Patrick remembers our son getting out and going inside, leaving the two of us talking and crying. Regardless, at some point, I know I hurriedly got out of the car and raced up the stairs to our bedroom.
It felt like a safe place, even if that safe place was just an illusion. My entire body felt like a balloon someone had just sucked the air out of. I went completely weak. Limp and lifeless. My mind was swirling. I was in complete disbelief. Alone in our room, I googled blood cancer and collapsed to the floor as I read the word “incurable.”
This happens to other people. Not us. How could this be happening to our family?
It was at that moment that I felt like giving up or giving in. Just quitting. It all felt like an uphill climb. An impossible task. I hadn’t chosen this. This suffering had chosen us. And I would have done anything to get out of it. There was no going around this – only through it.
I was going to have to learn to persevere. To endure. I don’t know what your storm is right now. Maybe it’s the loss of a loved one. Financial insecurity. An unfaithful spouse. Sickness. Or a miscarriage. But whatever it is, I am guessing, you too, have been tempted to quit.
Here’s where I want to encourage you. And cheer you on. You can do this. You can make it.
With God’s help, we can endure.
It’s amazing how many times the Bible tells us to “be patient” or to “endure” or to “persevere.”
- When the Apostle Paul was writing to young Timothy, he told him be like a soldier, an athlete, and a farmer. He was telling Timothy not to give up or give in. (2 Timothy 2:1-7)
- When Paul was writing to the church in Corinth, he told them that when he was persecuted, his response was to “endure it.” (1 Corinthians 4:12)
- Peter instructed Christians suffering wrong for doing what was right, he encouraged them to “endure.” (1 Peter 2:20)
- And the writer of Hebrews tells us that Jesus “endured the Cross” for us. We were the “joy” set before Him. (Hebrews 12:1-2)
There is no easy path. The journey is marked with pain. Our perseverance matters though. What God is doing in us and through us has value. The kind of woman or mom or wife we are being shaped into is of great significance. The harvest in our hurt has meaning. But only if we keep going. Only if we keep staying faithful, fixing our eyes on Jesus.
I wonder how often we miss out on what God has for us. What do we never see or experience because we too quickly run the other direction? Is it possible we miss a future harvest because we are unwilling to endure a present hardship?
So here is what I would say on this side of cancer: Keep going! God is good and He is faithful. He will give you what you need. We must endure, or patiently persevere. Keep close to Jesus. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. This will not last. There is hope. There is joy. While we may never fully get over our pain, we can grow through it. And by God’s grace, we can get through it too!
Written for Faith.Full by Ruth Schwenk, co-author with Patrick Schwenk of In a Boat in the Middle of a Lake.
* * *
Have you been punched in the stomach by hardship and suffering? Do you feel like giving up? Keep going! Endure! Fix your eyes on Jesus! Come share with us on our blog. We want to hear from you. ~ Laurie McClure, Faith.Full