Chemotherapy chairs, councellors, and clean heads were the predominant sights during my tour as a computer software trainer in an oncology center recently. During that time, I was experiencing my own personal turmoil, due to a series of unexpected storms that rocked the otherwise tranquil seas of my life.
I’m sure you can relate…
While in the chemo infusion area of this oncology center, I had the priviledge of observing many patient types as they checked-out of the clinic after their treatments. I saw the patient who could barely stand, and was visibly weakened immediately after treatment. I also saw the patient who had been understandably trounced by the trauma of this terrible disease. For these patients, rendering a smile was a feat of epic proportions. Then, there were the patients that wore their treatment very well. To look at them, one would never perceive that they had cancer. They were happy and upbeat in the face of pain and nausea.
Perhaps, the most remarkable patient type was embodied in a young lady who came to assist her mom on her treatment days. She was a vibrant, blond-haired woman with rosy cheeks and a contagious smile. She possessed a type of piquancy in her personality indicative of burgeoning youthfulness. She began to express how important it was to her to be there for her mother on treatment days. Her passion seemed to convey something more than just a loving concern for her mother.
As we continued to listen to her, she inquired about a particular physician by name. At that moment, the check-out receptionist informed her that the physician was no longer practicing. She then revealed that he was her attending physician who treated her when she had cancer. Turns out, she was a cancer survivor of 12 years.
As my jaw dropped to the floor, I was in awe. She couldn’t have been more than 30 years old.
Here was this young woman standing before us glowing with health and a full head of hair. She told us about her bone marrow transplant, and of course her hair loss (but…it grew back). She wanted to give up because of the pain and the harsh side-effects of her treatment (but…she didn’t). Now she is strong enough to care for her mother who is going through the same thing she walked through. As I spent more time in this clinic and met more people, I learned that many of the workers that I saw were volunteers who were cancer survivors.
You may have recently experienced loss on some level. It may not be health or hair, but what about hope. I’m writing this to you. Please don’t give up. Keep living. What you are going through now is just a rung on the ladder of your elevation. When this is over, you will be strong enough to help someone else who is struggling to live through what you have already overcome. Someone needs to hear the story of how you survived. Yes, you lost a lot (but…it grew back).
Sometimes what we perceive as loss really isn’t loss at all. In most cases, God is pruning our lives of unnecessary, unproductive limbs so that we will be prepared to be more fruitful than ever in our season. John 15:1-2, elucidates this truth beautifully. When a tree is pruned of unproductive limbs, it appears to be dead. All of the signs of visible life are gone. Loss of limbs, loss of leaves, and loss of fruit all signify the end. Others who pass by the tree may assume it is dead, then cast judgment and walk away. The same thing may happen to us during our pruning seasons. You may appear to be dead right now, but don’t lose hope. As long as your roots wrap around Christ, you will produce again.
How do you negotiate the uncertain seas of loss? What is your valuation of the people and things that are leaving your life? Are they really beneficial to you? Are they a gain or are they a drain?
Loss is only one part of the whole when it comes to God’s holy laboratory. God is a master chemist. He knows how to combine all of the elements in your life to produce a result that will both glorify Him and edify you. The process may be volatile, the reaction may be violent, but the product is always beautiful.
As a part of my undergraduate studies, I enrolled in several labs associated with my major course of study. One of which was Organic Chemistry, which is the study of how carbon behaves in various organic compounds. Lab was pretty fun because it involved mixing chemicals together, observing their reactions, and then documenting the details of the products. Some of these reactions were spontaneous and explosive, in some instances. Fortunately, our labs were fitted with huge fume hoods that were designed to extract toxic fumes from the air that were emitted after certain reactions. God’s grace is much like the fume hoods in a lab. It covers us during our times of painful pruning, when our reactions to the pain cause us to melt down and explode. Sometimes, we may even release toxic words and attitudes into the air. God’s grace sufficiently covers us, because His grace is sufficient for us.
In this life, you may have lost some things that were dear to you. The pruning may have caused loss of leaves, limbs, friends, hair, or even hope; but our Father is the Great Husbandman that ensures our prosperity and productivity. The pruning is preparation for productivity.
In God’s laboratory, all things work together for our good.
Remember: IT WILL GROW BACK!!!
Editor: Jaime Evans
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