My appointment with the oncologist at the sprawling hospital on the hill was the day after the MRI. I don’t remember the technician who led me there, but I remember the room. It was a sterile looking room with plain beige walls and an assortment of generic office furniture. There were no personalized features in the room—only run-of-the-mill posters illustrating which stick figure faces go with what numbers on a pain scale and a blank three-month calendar. No clock on the wall; but had there been, the sounds of the seconds ticking off would have been noticeable. It’s hard to wait for something you never wanted to be a part of in the first place.
The impersonal environment settled in contrast to my very personal reason for being there, which was to be defined in the coming moments. My husband sat in the chair, and I climbed up on the exam table. I could have chosen to sit in the desk chair, but my sitting there didn’t seem appropriate. In fact, none of this felt right.
I had always been a healthy person—not a woman in a bland room waiting for an oncologist’s polite knock on the door. Yet there I was. And the inevitable knock that came demanded I stare into the truth. I was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer that afternoon, and the prognosis was not good.
It was not lost on us the appointment fell on Good Friday. Good. None of this seemed the least bit good. Yet I was reminded that neither did it all those years ago in Gethsemane. That week had been a tribute to another who had walked a path of suffering He would rather not have. Jesus did, however, because He loved me and He loved His Father who had appointed His circumstances. This comforted us as we drove home to tell our loved ones.
The days following Good Friday were a blur. We grieved heavily and did our best to process the news as a family.
After our customary Easter dinner, we went to church. At the designated time my youngest took me by the hand to ask the prayer team to pray. An older couple gently laid their hands on us calling out to God, and as they did, I felt my spirit lift a little. Peace invaded, and I saw a stream of light beaming in from the window landing at my feet. The light had weight, as if it were a manifestation of God’s presence, and I chuckled with hope at what a great “God story” it could be: a girl diagnosed on Good Friday and healed on Easter.
Surgery was a few days later, and that’s when God named the story not as “Girl Healed on Easter” but “My Grace Is Sufficient for You” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
And it has been. Abundantly sufficient. For five years now. The story that began Easter weekend 2013 has a happy ending, but not because I am healed. I am not. In fact, I am in hospice now. But just as the most painful Friday in history turned out to be the precursor to the best Sunday ever, my personal hardest Friday has ushered in knowledge of His goodness beyond my imagination.
It is as if the light I experienced at my feet that Easter dispersed into a thousand twinkling lights spread out into the darkness. Like fireflies, God has made His presence known through the twinkling kindness of His people, through moments that leave me scratching my head, and through pieces of His Word that jump out and wrap around my heart like a soft chenille robe. As John 21:25 says:
“Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.”
That’s the dilemma of having limited space to tell the story of His goodness. It cannot be contained.
And the best is yet to come. Oh, don’t you doubt it, friends. Resurrection is coming, and it puts the good in everything.