Please no…

by DanWolgemuth on March 7, 2014

Wednesday evening Mary opened up her gmail account and read the following from the daughter of a close friend.  Erin is thirty years old… vibrant, bright, lovely and wise in a way that only pain, disappointment, and suffering can nurture.  The words exploded…

This Afternoon March 5, 2014

2 years and 6 months ago I was given 2 years to live.
2 years ago almost to the day I came home from my last round of treatment.

2 weeks ago I had some discomfort and thought my uneducated hands felt a mass in my abdomen.
2 days ago I had blood work done and a CT scan.
This afternoon I visited with my doctor. And learned that even my uneducated hands can sometimes be right. The cancer is back.

“The cancer is back.“

No.  Please no.

Mary and I stood in the kitchen in stunned disbelief.  Please God.  Please no.

Erin’s first battle with cancer was an all out war.  She took her body to the brink in order to defend her life.

Karen, Erin’s mom, is our dear friend… a woman who lost her husband in a motorcycle accident in 2006, Karen has confronted the deepest kind of loss with honesty and hope.  And so we pled, no… not again.

Erin’s email didn’t end with the pronouncement that the cancer is back… it went on.  With statements like the following:

“A few years ago I went to a conference.  One of the speakers, a man who himself had battled cancer, said something that has stuck in my mind and I think of it often, particularly in times like this. My note from that day reads, “the battle that matters has already been fought, all my other problems are fleabites in comparison and I need to learn to see them that way.” Praise the Lord! My cancer is a fleabite in the grand scheme of creation. Not because I don’t matter, but because the part of me that matters most has already been rescued! How can it get any better than that?”

I had to read this a second time.

Especially the riveting truth that the part of Erin that matters most has been rescued.  Cancer doesn’t change that.  Nothing will.

Erin’s words transported me to the story of Stephen in Acts 7 –

But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 

When faced with the most intense challenge and conflict of his life… peace covered Stephen like a dense fog.  He was in the center of God’s care.  He was at home with his Father.  The stones hurled from an angry mob couldn’t change that.

And neither can cancer.  Not for Erin.  She’s never been safer.  Never known love more intimately.

We are in Erin’s classroom.  Still pleading for mercy, still asking for miracles… but mostly marveling at the love and life of a courageous 30-year-old who knows that her God has settled the biggest issue in her life… and the return of cancer doesn’t change that.

Rescued indeed.

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