Thursday, August 25, 2016

Realigning Perspective in the Face of Others' Suffering

It is very easy to become caught up in the poor, pitiful me syndrome, and think your world is the worst place on earth. I have been there. We all have, where we know others may possibly somehow have a worse time than we do, but it doesn't matter. Our worst time belongs to US, and we are suffering.

I had a small rash from the radiation. No real big deal, but it itched a little. And there was a funny looking spot at the edge of my reconstructed breast that looked like under-skin scar tissue may be forming. I was feeling a little worried, and sorry for myself.

I sat down with two other women waiting for radiation. I am getting to slowly know these women since we all have the same designated daily time to show up for radiation. One lady was sparkling, with the inner light that any believer recognizes as being from someone who loves the Lord. We struck up a conversation, and she began sharing what she had been through thus far on her cancer journey.

Unlike me, she had heart complications and heart surgery. Unlike me, she had chemo. Unlike me, she had developed 'cording' - thick scars that limited her range of motion right after her surgery. She showed me pictures of her legs swollen three times their size from chemo, toenails that had fallen off, and a countertop of hair that had come out in huge clumps till she was bald in three days.

"But I'm blessed," she told me, "My doctors were wonderful. I prayed God would send me just the right doctors for me, and He did."

The radiation technician called her away, and another lady sat down. We struck up a conversation. Unlike me, she also had received several months of chemo. Nine out of ten women do fine with the chemo drugs, but not her. She was taken to the ER after the first round of chemo, discovering the drug had permanently damaged her heart.

"My birthday is this week," she told me, and then she choked up. "Forgive me...I didn't think I would make it to this birthday."
Also unlike me, though she has had as many radiation treatments as I have, she was in excruciating pain. "My skin looks like it's been burned to a crisp. It's black! I can't hardly stand the pain."

Kind of realigns your perspective, doesn't it?

Psalm 118:24 

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.

I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers,

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

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