Such a Time as This
Feb 11, 2024 | by The Fellowship
My husband, 51, was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer) in 2007. Empty nesters, we were making all sorts of plans for our retirements. The diagnosis came out of nowhere and rocked our world to the core. Thankfully, removing his kidney was the only treatment required as the tumor was encapsulated, and no cells were detected anywhere else in his body. We gave our Lord all of the glory!
Seven years later, in 2014, the unthinkable happened! Despite routine follow-up appointments, the cancer returned with a vengeance in multiple locations and presented as Metastatic Stage Four! It felt like being kicked in the stomach with the air sucked out of us. Yet, my husband and I made the decision that we were going to use this trial to reflect our love and trust in the Lord and hopefully be a testimony to others of His tremendous love and provision.
The Word of God does not promise a life without trials and challenges just because we are Christians. In fact, James 1:12 tells us: Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. So, after the initial shock, we returned to many Scriptures that had been vital to us during the first round with cancer. Our favorite became: Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. Such simple verses spoke volumes to us and became our words to live by: choose joy, pray continually, and give thanks always.
Despite a rather horrendous year of battling cancer, we did find joy in the outpouring of love and kindness from family, friends, and church members. Our prayers were lifted multiple times a day and thanksgiving was constant. Our personal motto became: “It is well with my soul.” Through all of our prayers, we truly did experience peace that transcends all earthly understanding.
In May 2015, my husband’s battle with cancer ended and he went to be with the Lord. The love of my life, the one I was supposed to grow old with, was gone. Once again, I wondered how I would cope. And once again, our God was faithful to me and to my family during this affliction.
Always with me, He held me when I needed comfort, walked alongside me while holding my hand, literally drug me during the times I needed coaxing to go somewhere without my husband at my side, and carried me any time I lifted my arms up to Him. Frequently, I was reminded of the story of Esther in the Bible and her uncle’s question: “And who knows but that you have come to this position for such a time as this?” I wondered if my life as a Christian since the age of 8 had been molded and guided by God to help me survive “such a time as this” as I became a widow at 57.
Once again, I turned my focus to the Lord and His Word and promises. Through the funeral home, I was made aware of a program called GriefShare. It seemed a natural response for me to check it out. So, my adult daughter and I enrolled in a GriefShare program at a local church.
GriefShare is a 13-week, Christian-based program. Each week has a DVD lesson focusing on a different aspect of the grieving process while always pointing toward Jesus as the source of our healing. As I neared the end of the series, I pondered 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 -- Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. I felt the Lord prompting me to bring GriefShare to my church, so I repeated another 13-week session to become totally familiar with it. Then I rallied others to assist with facilitating the program at my home church.
Fast forward a few years and the Lord revealed another plan for my life! He led me to a kind man, a widower who had also lost his spouse to cancer several years prior. We truly had walked in each other’s shoes. Our family dynamics were very similar, and each of us felt like we still had a lot to offer a spouse. We married in 2020 and chose The Fellowship to be our new “together” church home.
The Lord was already prompting me to facilitate the GriefShare program at The Fellowship, and my husband was very agreeable to leading it with me. We both have a heart for this ministry and are grateful for the opportunity to use our experiences to be able to point others to the healing and hope of the Lord during their grief journeys. How thankfully we have watched countless times as our Lord gently turns a griever’s mourning into joy!
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”
GriefShare is offered on Tuesday nights at 7 p.m. in the Community Room at The Fellowship. A $20 fee covers the cost of the workbook. Childcare is available. To enroll, contact the church office at 281-395-3950 or visit the church website: thefellowship.org