My first thought, honestly, was cars don’t behave this way. We spend hours every day keeping our cars between the lines, and it’s so easy to grow accustomed to the world working this way. You stay in your lane. The millions of other drivers on the road stay in theirs. And the day goes on. No crashes. No accidents. Just the monotony of keeping your car in the safety of your lane. So on Tuesday morning when my mom and I were going out for a fun day of shopping, I never thought that I would spend the morning on the side of the road, giving my statement to the police about how someone in an F-250 had bulldozed the left side of our car while we were sitting stationary in the turn lane. Because cars just don’t do that. I cringe every time I see someone approaching too quickly behind me, willing them to stop, but I never actually expect that they will hit me. Some part of me assumes that people pay attention, that they respond fast enough, and that the world keeps turning uninterrupted. So when something goes awry, it completely bewilders us. It overwhelms us. We get taken by surprise, and, even if just for a few moments, the world seems to turn upside down.
After spending the better part of our morning on the side of the road with the police, I definitely wasn’t in the mood to drive, but before our day was so frighteningly interrupted, my mom had made an appointment with her surgeon, and we still had to get to her office. So our day continued. We made it to the hospital without further incident, and part of me was convinced that the worst part of our day just had to be over. Because a car accident and life altering news could not possibly happen on the same day. So when the surgeon finally called us back to her office and she spoke the words, “It is cancer,” I went numb on the inside. I reached out and took my mom’s hand, feeling completely helpless. I had no way to comfort her. I know nothing about cancer, so saying the words “It’s going to be OK” just didn’t seem appropriate. So I hugged her, and I kissed her forehead, and I prayed.
Surprisingly, I did not pray for her healing. That prayer came later, when I had my wits about me again and I was ready to face the fact that my mom had been diagnosed with cancer. No, in this moment, I prayed that my Comforter would comfort her. I begged the Lord my Savior to comfort my mom in her time of need, because I didn’t know how. I turned over the full force of my grief to the Lord, and I trusted Him to catch the pieces of my world as it fell apart. Because for the first time in a long time, the pattern of my days was being shaken. Until that moment, I had been living under the subconscious belief that things like this don’t happen to me or to my family. And suddenly I was wondering how many days I had left with my precious mom. So I prayed. And my friends prayed. And our church prayed. And strangers who I’ve never met spoke to the Lord on my mom’s behalf. Because that is what the body of Christ does. Assured that the Lord hears the cries and the hurts and the hearts of His people, we pray.
A few days later my mom made her first trip to the oncologist, who told her in no uncertain terms, “You are not going to die.” There is still a long road of treatment ahead, but he believes that they’ve caught it very early, and I have hope that my mom will be able to meet and hold and play with her grandchildren. And I know that whatever road lies ahead, I can turn to the Lord and say with complete trust, “Thou, Oh Lord, are a shield for me; my glory and the lifter of my head.” And I say to any of you who are hurting, who are shaken, who have been side swiped by something unexpected – “We do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Your Comforter and your Healer waits for you with open arms.
And because pictures make every post better, I’ll share one of my favorites with you. Anne Almasy captured this photo of my mom and I dancing at my wedding, and it has become even more precious to me in the last few days.