This day is significant to me.
Five years ago this day, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
I had been waiting for days to hear from my doctor the result of the biopsy. In my heart I knew it would be malignant, but I held out hope for a better result. Hoping and praying to God that this would not be my journey, not be my story.
That day was also the day we celebrated my youngest son’s ninth birthday party. I went through the motions and tried to remain present as we took Alex and five of his friends to see “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” and then back to our house for a sleepover. Throughout the movie I kept glancing at my phone, waiting for a call from my doctor, who had promised to have results sometime that day.
When we got home that night, there were messages from her on the answering machine with her personal cell number to call her back.
I fearfully called her back, and heard the news- “it’s cancer”. I so clearly remember the dizziness, the cold I felt in my body, the shivering, the confusion.
I remember moving forward with treatment plans while my brain was still struggling to comprehend the diagnosis.
I remember hanging up the phone and then helping sweet young boys settle in for the night and kissing my birthday boy goodnight. I remember getting on the internet (big mistake!) and reading grim statistics about Invasive Ductal Carcinoma.
I remember fear. I remember emptiness. I remember deep sorrow. I remember darkness. I remember wrestling with the thought of death. I remember desperation and feeling far from God.
And still God was with me. Faithfully.
This year, March 25th is Good Friday.
The day Jesus died.
Jesus walked in obedience the path set before him.
Jesus prayed to God that this would not be his journey. Would not be his story.
But it was.
In his last day, Jesus experienced fear. He knew emptiness and deep sorrow.
He questioned the Father- “if it be possible, let this cup pass me by.”
And he surrendered to the Father- “yet not as I will, but as you will.”
And he walked in obedience and faithfulness- trusting the Father, submitting to the Father’s will, even though it was hard. Even though it was painful.
And God was faithful.
And he is faithful. To walk with us through the dark valleys. To carry us through trials and suffering. To heal. To comfort. To lead and to guide. To shepherd us and lovingly care for us. To shape us and transform us.
This year, on March 25th, I reflect on God’s faithfulness shown to me these past five years. He has healed me. He has grown me. He has strengthened me. He has humbled me. He has shown me more of who he is. And he has shown me more of who I am.
And I reflect on the selfless, sacrificial love of Jesus. To become sin so that I- so that we- might become the righteousness of God and become more like Jesus.
Jesus knows our pain, because he experienced pain. He comforts us in our suffering because he experienced suffering, he draws us close to God because at his darkest moment, he, too, felt far from God.
Jesus suffered and died-
So that we can know the unfailing love of God.
So that we can enjoy the presence of God.
So that we can trust in the goodness of God.
So that we can reflect the Father’s glory.
So that we can overflow with grace and be a blessing to others.
And so I am thankful for March 25th and all that it means to me.