My husband was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer in 2005. Although it’s been over ten years, I still remember that moment when we received the life-changing words, “It’s cancer.”
The doctor told us the disease had spread and the test results looked grim. I held back the tears as the doctor said my husband would receive the most chemotherapy that a person could endure in order to save his life.
No matter how spiritually prepared you are to hear those words, nothing prepares you for total brokenness.
In those moments, all we have is Christ. Not our own strength. Not the strength or wisdom of others. But Christ alone.
Just a few weeks before his cancer diagnosis, I listened to a song that used the words from Isaiah 53:5:
By his wounds we are healed.
Now our lives seemed broken beyond repair. Where was God in the midst of our brokenness?
Over the next few months, as my husband endured three surgeries and an intense chemotherapy schedule, I clung to God’s promises.
I reminded myself that this devastating diagnosis was not God’s rejection of me, but an invitation to draw into a deeper relationship with Him.
My fear had caused me to doubt God’s love and goodness, but I was conquering that doubt by immersing myself in His promises.
I began writing scripture on small cards and posting them around my house so that his words would be on my mind throughout the day. I looked at these cards when I got ready in the morning. They caught my eye as I walked past them in the evening. Time in God’s word became more than another checkmark on my to-do list, it was saturating my entire day.
Although my future looked uncertain, I held onto the promise that God would not leave me. These verses spoke to me when I felt abandoned and alone. And through them, God called me into the safety of His love.
In Joel 2:13, God extends an invitation to come to Him in sorrow.
“Don’t just tear your clothes to show how sad you are. Let your hearts be broken. Return to the Lord your God. He is gracious. He is tender and kind. He is slow to get angry. He is full of love. He won’t bring his judgment. He won’t destroy you. Return to the Lord your God.” (NIRV)
Return to me is His message, His invitation of trusting him through our most fearful moments.
Return to me is a call to us in our brokenness, inviting us to life change in the midst of darkness.
No need to tear our clothes. No need for a physical display of desperation. He wants our internal brokenness. He wants our fearful hearts. He wants our sorrow in admitting we can’t walk this path alone. He does not turn away from us in our need.
Through my husband’s cancer, I not only gained a stronger faith in Him, I also developed a deeper trust through all circumstances.
Return to me is not only the message for those far from God, but for any time we are in the midst of fear or doubt.
Return to Me is an invitation for grace, a call to fall on our knees, remembering His mercies new and His love that never fails.