This seems to be a season of loved ones who are struggling with illnesses. They range from the seriousness of my neighbor just diagnosed with Stage 3 melanoma to bothersome stomach viruses. In each case, however, it has been interesting to see how the person’s perspective can be altered as HaShem reminds us He is still with us.
Take my neighbor, for example. She thought she had beat this cancer after surgery a little over a year ago. And yet, the cancer has returned, this time with more complications. Just as she thought she was facing the worst at Dana Farber this week, her adult stepson was in a very serious auto accident. He will be fine. Yet the happening succeeded in shifting the focus for awhile from her health challenges to that of another which helped put hers in perspective. Although her husband is now dealing with two loved ones facing medical challenges, he, too, is reminded that the picture is much larger than just that of his wife’s medical needs. He is reminded of the importance of him taking care of himself as a caregiver to others. He is reminded that things could be worse, and that things can improve as his son will soon be released from the hospital.
Then there are the less extreme situations. The barometer for me of whether I am in need of some emotional healing is my neck. For the past several weeks I have had a nagging pain on the right side of my neck. This usually means something is bothering me, something stressful, which I’m not acknowledging. It can be work related, financial concerns, personal relationship issues, health worry. In any event it’s my signal to seek inner healing, literally, for somehow unintentionally my mind has forced the issue inside and I recognize to be healed I must bring it back to the surface.
Sometimes these are times of an inordinate amount of sickness coming in relentless waves, one thing after another, giving us barely, if any, time to recover in between. Multiple challenges accost us, sometimes our own compounded by those around us, several of our loved ones at once, or in succession with seemingly no end. These times of excessive health challenges seem to be a reflection of the stories in the news – events that are chaotic, filled with brokenness, injury, sickness, even death. Shootings at a baseball practice, random explosions injuring innocents, rampant lyme disease, senseless killings. . .
And then I read the amazing email of the successful walk through vanquishing kidney cancer of our beloved Lainey’s husband, Joseph. Baruch HaShem! We are reminded to wake up each day to thank our Abba for restoring our souls to us. We are reminded to persevere and seek healing. We are reminded that miracles do happen. We are reminded to never lose faith and to trust in Him. We are reminded to praise and glorify Him and never stop praying. We are reminded of the power of drawing close to Him. We are reminded to remember the big picture.
Perhaps these times of personal and loved ones’ health challenges serve to strengthen us, to remind us that we need our Abba desperately. When all is well it is so easy to forget our priorities and to not honor Him as often and deeply as we should. When we face illness whether of ourselves or others, we can’t help but recognize our fragility and our mortality. We need Him.
The truth is we need Him all the time. Perhaps dealing with illness is the tangible reminder of that paramount fact. So too, health challenges are the training ground strengthening us to more ably handle what is going on in the world around us, and what may lie ahead. Just as we gain new perspectives through these experiences and witness healings, so too will we be more able to live in a world in deep need of healing. These are the days of preparation. These are the days of hope.
Just as Joseph was healed, so too will be the world, when our Messiah Yeshua returns.