Today's Lectionary Text
Isaiah 65:17-25For I am about to create new heavens
and a new earth;
the former things shall not be remembered
or come to mind.
But be glad and rejoice forever
in what I am creating;
for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy,
and its people as a delight.
I will rejoice in Jerusalem,
and delight in my people;
no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it,
or the cry of distress.
No more shall there be in it
an infant that lives but a few days,
or an old person who does not live out a lifetime;
for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth,
and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed.
They shall build houses and inhabit them;
they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
They shall not build and another inhabit;
they shall not plant and another eat;
for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be,
and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
They shall not labor in vain,
or bear children for calamity;
for they shall be offspring blessed by the Lord—
and their descendants as well.
Before they call I will answer,
while they are yet speaking I will hear.
The wolf and the lamb shall feed together,
the lion shall eat straw like the ox;
but the serpent—its food shall be dust!
They shall not hurt or destroy
on all my holy mountain,
says the Lord.
As January began this year I had plans, goals really of things I wanted to accomplish this year. The usual -- lose more weight, get more active. I was starting a read the Bible in a year, working on my financials. You know what they say, make plans and God laughs.
My family caught COVID and although I tested negative, I had a terrible headache. I’ve had migraines for 28 or so years but this headache went on for days and nothing could touch it. Stress. Yes, that was it, a husband, and a child at home with COVID could make anything stressful. It was when I threw up in the car that I agreed to go to the ER. Mind you I had called and talked to my doctor who wasn’t concerned. I had agreed with another doctor I was following up with that week that I would call the cancer center and they would do an MRI if it wasn’t better by Monday.
Two days short. Tiny brain lesions. My breast cancer of 2019 was back, and it was in my head. Grand. I did some targeted radiation to my brain then back to the cancer center. Another scan, more cancer to be found. Super. Metastatic breast cancer had become part of my life. So, I’ve been doing chemo and thanks to some new spots I’ll be doing some radiation soon.
I love my team at the cancer center, but I was kind of hoping our time of togetherness had passed. Sobering timelines of “make this Valentine’s Day a good one” and “we’ll try this treatment but if it doesn’t work, we have more we can do.” I’m now on treatment No. 2.
In January I was full on into detachment from my “stuff”. Where should my grandmother’s china go? Who would want this or that? It’s all just stuff and I’ve been working on destuffing my life for a couple of years. Then into adulting mode. Wills, trusts, dealing with the financial side of being sick. Hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.
We started planning a trip I’ve always wanted to take. Getting passports, making lists. And that most dreaded of all, letting people help. And they do want to help. So many people have stepped up to the plate with meals and gift cards, prayers and praying over me. It’s been overwhelming.
We hope for the best but plan for the worst. I don’t know how people go through these types of things without their faith. I can see how a person could lose theirs through the process but that’s not how I’m built. If the worst happens then I go home to be with my family that has gone before. I can sit at Jesus’ feet and ask what he really said, not how it’s been interpreted. I can spend time with grandparents I didn’t get to meet or those that there would never be enough time or visit with friends who left this life too early.
If these treatments are successful, I get more time. I must be vigilant about watching for more recurrence, but we gain just a little more time.
The promise of a new creation in Isaiah where no crying will be heard, the wolf and the lamb feeding together remind me that although there are tests and trials in this life there is one who has gone ahead, who has made a place for us and waits to welcome us home. It may not be on our schedule, but I usually find God’s time to work out for the best anyway.
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Prayer for Reflection
Holy and ever-loving God, thank you for the gift of your new creation, for the saints that have gone before and for the words to live by and your son who died for us. Thank you for walking with us through the trials and triumphs in our lives. Help us to remember to give you thanks and praise in all situations.
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