16 October 2009

Suffering Together

Genesis 2:24--Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

Several months ago, I read John Piper's excellent book, Desiring God. Though I was regularly affected by things that he wrote, I was particularly moved by his chapter on suffering. I said to my dear wife, "as Christians, we are called to suffer. We have a fantastic life, why is it that we don't suffer?" She replied, "wherever you lead, I will follow."

As I sat on the top of that mountain of contentment, I had no idea that God was preparing us for a trip into this valley. The Valley of Breast Cancer. In the past 5 days, which have been a whirlwind, Heather went from "I found a lump in my breast that I should have checked out" to "Heather will require a mastectomy."

I have also been painfully assured of something I have long suspected--the suffering of someone I love, in this case the flesh of my flesh--comes with substantial pain. As social beings, we humans suffer when confronted by the pain of others, particularly our loved ones. A part of me says I have no right to feel hurt, yet another part is reminded that I am one with this woman God has joined with me. Her pain is my pain.

I also know that as we peer into the valley, God has given us the past several years together to prepare for this journey with one another. Taking her left hand in mine and reaching to God with my right, we step out in faith.

I want to build a house up on this mountain
Way up high where the peaceful waters flow
To quench my thirsty soul
Up on the mountain

My faith is strengthened by all that I see
You make it easy for me to believe up on the mountain
Oh, up on the mountain

I would love to live up on this mountain
And keep the pain of living life so far away
But I know I can't stay
Up on the mountain

I said I'd go, Lord, wherever You lead
For where You are is where I most want to be
And I can tell we're headed for the valley
My faith is strengthened by all that I've seen
So Lord help me remember what You've shown me
Up on the mountain

You bring me up here on this mountain
For me to rest and learn and grow
I see the truth up on the mountain
And I carry it to the world far below

So as I go down to the valley
Knowing that You will go with me
This is my prayer, Lord
Help me to remember what You've shown me
Up on the mountain
Up on the mountain

I cherish these times up on the mountain
But I can leave this place because I know
Someday You'll take me home to live forever
Up on the mountain

1 comment:

Genevieve Thul said...

Remember this pain is not occurring just to the body of someone else, but to your body as well. You are a living example of Ephesians 5:
"In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband."