In Need of a Good Report

The last couple of days my stomach has had that nervous tied-up-in-knots feeling.

 

It’s because I’m afraid.

 

Ever since we got the bad report from my mother’s doctors and I made plans to fly north to be with my mom, that fear has crept in. As I’ve begun to wrap up things at work to leave for an extended—and unknown—amount of time, that fear has grown.

 

I’m desperately in need of a good report. I think that’s why a line from the Psalms has quietly appeared in my heart this week: “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You” (Psalm 56:3).

 

I know that the opposite of fear is faith. But it’s not faith in some vague God up there looking down on me. It’s faith in a personal, loving God. It’s faith that He is worthy of the trust His Word says to give Him, a God who keeps His promises.

 

What I’m really afraid of is the weight of pain that I may have to bear. I’m still asking and believing for a miracle. But, my mind says, what if there isn’t a miracle? The stomach knots come from this question. They come from the pain of knowing what my mom goes through now and from wondering what I might go through in the future.

 

Never have I felt this kind of loneliness in my life. I will soon be surrounded by my family, and I am now surrounded by the most wonderful friends one could have. But at the end of the day, the facts are the same. My mom, my dear, wonderful mom, whom no one can replace, has untreatable cancer.

 

No one can bear my unique, individual pain for me. Can they?

 

Another line of good news floats to the surface: “Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried…” (Isaiah 53:4). Our griefs, pain, sickness – all these Jesus carried on the cross, and they crushed Him.

 

But He rose from the dead, and He crushed them. In light of that: “Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.” (Psalm 55:22).

 

He didn’t say He wouldn’t allow the righteous to feel pain, but He does promise that the burden won’t crush the ones who find their sustenance in Him. His grace will be sufficient to carry us through, no matter how heavy the burden.

 

As I meditate on this good report and count on Him to keep His promises, the stomach knots slowly begin to untie themselves.

 

 

One Response to “ “In Need of a Good Report”

  1. Rodak says:

    Joanne–
    Please excuse this intrusion by a perfect stranger. I found your blog because you had tagged "Jane Kenyon" as among your favorite readings. I discovered some months ago–after discovering her magnificent poetry–that Jane Kenyon was my classmate in high school. And I never knew her. She was my classmate again at the University of Michigan, where I majored in English. And, again, although I did meet her husband, the poet, Donald Hall, I never met Jane Kenyon. It is strange to feel the retrospective loss of a thing one never had. I have posted some Kenyon-related words here and here and here.
    But I was also prompted to make these comments when I read of your situation with your mother. My mother, too, has recently been diagnosed with untreatable cancer, so I can empathize with some of what you are feeling.
    I wonder if you know the writings of French religious philosopher, Simone Weil? I have collected some excerpts of her writings here. If you care to look at them, you may find some comforting thoughts therein.
    I am at work, so I haven't really had time to read much of your blog, but I see that you have posted some poetry. I look forwarded to reading it.
    Try not to be afraid.

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