The following was originally posted in 2013, two weeks before a young friend died of cancer. Heaven gained another young woman this past weekend, when a missionary family here in Nicaragua lost their daughter in a freak accident. God used the situation to remind me of His challenge last fall and that it is still appropriate today…
I know a girl who is dying.
Less than eight months ago, she was diagnosed with an aggressive and rare form of bone cancer. Everyone — even her doctors — was shocked. She’s not even completed her third decade of life. She hasn’t gotten married, or had kids. She’s still got so much life to lead, right?
Apparently not here. Not now.
Everyone has rallied for weeks and months, arranging meals, rides to the doctor, and afternoon visits. Plans were made. And adjusted. Life was lived through sad smiles and whispered fears. The knowing changed us all.
For a while it looked like the chemo was working.
And then it wasn’t.
They just told us she has refused any additional treatment. She’s on hospice. Waiting to die.
We sent our love, and told the family we were praying. But those statements feel so empty! I want to *do* something. We are so far away, what can we do from thousands of miles away?
Pray. Just pray.
No! That’s not enough! I want to *do* something? What can I send? Flowers? No, that doesn’t seem right. Candy? No, she can’t eat anything anyway. A game? Uggh! What can I *DO*?! I feel so helpless! Why is this happening? Where are the answers?
As I’m having this conversation, I begin to wonder why praying doesn’t seem to be “enough” in situations like this. Why does it feel so lame to just tell them we are praying? I mean, anyone can do that, right? And then it occurs to me: what if I want to do something because that something ultimately points back to me? Gulp. Could that really be it?
Oh God, please don’t let that be it!
I consider that the results of prayer point back to God. They give glory to the only One who can bring healing, peace, and comfort in times like this. But the results of sending flowers, candy, or anything else point only back to me. Sure, they can be nice to receive — and they let the recipient know I was thinking about her — and yet in situations like this they probably only serve as a veiled attempt to make me feel better about the whole crappy thing.
My friend is dying. I can’t say the right words to make it better. I can’t do anything to fix this situation. I can’t do anything to take away the cancer, or change its results. And I. Hate. That!
I am powerless.
I know the name of the powerful One. I know where He lives. I know how to get in touch with Him.
This. This is the most important thing I can do right now. And it’s not making sure my actions are remembered. It’s not about me at all.
Only the power of God remains beyond the eaten candy and wilted flowers.
Dear God, I am sorry I tried to make this about me. Please give the family wisdom as they walk this path. Give your daughter peace and comfort in these last days, as she prepares to join you and finally be pain free. And give the rest of us the ability to gracefully accept what we cannot change, while placing it in the hands of the only One who can. Amen.
:: This was originally posted at wendywillard.com, before I switched to blogging here, on October 16, 2013.