Breast cancer, mastectomy,, Prayer, suffering, life, courage, help, bear, illness, mental, physical,

A Gethsemane experience

 

On the day of my mastectomy, as I waited on a trolley outside the anaesthetic room, I was suddenly overwhelmed by a profound terror of suffering and death, just as Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane. I felt completely helpless, despairing and alone, shaking uncontrollably with cold and fear. 

Then my surgeon entered the room in blue scrubs. She must have seen at once how distressed I was, because she came straight over to me, putting her arms around me and bending down to lay her head gently on my chest. She seemed like an angel of comfort and strength. I managed to whisper, through chattering teeth, “I’m so frightened!” She didn’t even speak, just held me as I sobbed helplessly. 

After a time, realising how cold I was, she moved to stand behind me, rubbing my arms to warm me, until I was pushed into an ante-room and quickly, skilfully anaesthetised. 

That evening, after the surgery, I wept again. I felt as if I had experienced something of what Christ suffered in Gethsemane, just as those gazing at a representation of Jesus on the cross occasionally undergo the pain and powerlessness of his crucifixion. 

Next day, however, I realised that rather than we ordinary mortals sometimes sharing what Jesus experienced, it was, in fact, he who fully shared our primeval, human terror in the face of imminent suffering and death.

 Of course, there are major differences between my experience and his. I was facing my profound fear of anaesthesia and surgery solely for my own benefit. Jesus, on the other hand, was facing betrayal, torture and death so our sins could be forgiven. I hope I will never cease to thank him for what he faced and endured for our sake.

 

References

My heart pounds in my chest. The terror of death assaults me. Fear and trembling overwhelm me, and I can’t stop shaking (Psalm 55:4-5; NLT).

They went to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and Jesus said, “Sit here while I go and pray.” He took Peter, James and John with him, and he became deeply troubled and distressed. He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” He went on a little further and fell to the ground. He prayed that, if it were possible, the awful hour awaiting him might pass him by (Mark 14:32-5; NLT).  

Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him. He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood (Luke 22:43-4; NLT).

Angels came and took care of Jesus (Matthew 4:11; NLT).

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace (Ephesians 1:7; NIV).

God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us (Romans 5:8, NRSV). 

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Prayer, suffering, life, courage, help, bear, illness, mental, physical,

Seek God

 

Seek God in your suffering,
Seek him in your pain;

Seek him in your anguish,
Seek him: he is near.

Seek God in your wilderness,
Seek him in your fear;

Seek him in your darkness –
You will find him: he is here.

 

References 

Keep on seeking, and you will find (Matthew 7:7; NLT). 

The Kingdom of Heaven is near (Matthew 4:17; NIV).

In all their suffering he also suffered (Isaiah 63:9; NLT).

The kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17:21; KJV).

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All who grieve

 

May all who grieve, Lord,
Turn to you for comfort.

May all who suffer 
Know that they are blessed.

May all those facing trials, Lord,
Be strengthened.

May all those who are weary
Find your rest.

 

References 

God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted (Matthew 5:4; NLT).

Those who suffer he delivers in their suffering; he speaks to them in their affliction (Job 36:15; NIV).

With your help I can advance against a troop, with my God I can scale a wall (2 Samuel 22:30; NIV).

Keep on seeking and you will find (Luke 11:9; NLT). 

Then Jesus said, “Come to me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28; NLT).

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Do not fear the darkness

 

Do not fear the darkness
Surrounding God, our Father.

Do not dread the clouds
That hide the sky.

For this is how he shields us
From his overwhelming glory – 

Protect us from your face, Lord,
Or we die.

Do not fear the stillness 
Surrounding God, our Father.

Do not dread his silence, 
But his cry.

For this is how he shields us
From his terrifying power –

Protect us from your voice, Lord,
Or we die.

Do nor fear the solitude
Surrounding God, our Father.

Do not dread his anguish,
Or his sigh.

For this is how he shields us
From his all-consuming anger –

Protect us from your fire, Lord,
Or we die.

 

References

He shrouded himself in darkness, veiling his approach with dark rain clouds. Thick clouds shielded the brightness around him (Psalm 18:11-12; NLT).

He lives in light so brilliant that no human can approach him (1 Timothy 6:16; NLT).

Go back down and warn the people not to break through the boundaries to see the Lord, or they will die (Exodus 19:21; NLT).

The Mighty Warrior shouts his battle cry. That day will be a day of wrath (Zephaniah 1:14; NIV). 

God’s voice thunders and the earth melts! (Psalm 46:6; NLT).

We can’t even imagine the greatness of his power (Job 37:5; NLT).

Don’t let God speak directly to us, or we will die! (Exodus 20:19; NLT).

In all their suffering he also suffered (Isaiah 63:9; NLT).

God is a consuming fire (Deuteronomy 4:24; NIV).

Don’t let us hear the voice of the Lord our God any more or see this blazing fire, for we will die (Deuteronomy 18:16; NLT).

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We cannot share your light

 

Lord,

We cannot share your light
Without your darkness.

We cannot share your peace
Without your pain. 

We cannot share your hope 
Without your sorrow.

We cannot share your way
Without your shame. 

We cannot share your truth 
Without your weeping.

We cannot share your faith
Without your loss. 

We cannot share your joy 
Without your anguish.

We cannot share your love 
Without your cross.

 

References 

I am the light of the world (John 8:12; NLT).

At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock (Matthew 27:45; NLT).

Peace I leave you; my peace I give you (John 14:27; NIV).

Then the soldiers nailed him to the cross (Mark 15:24; NLT).

His name will be the hope of all the world (Matthew 12:21; NLT).

He began to be sorrowful and troubled (Matthew 26:37; NLT).

I am the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6; NLT).

He endured the cross, disregarding its shame (Hebrews 12:2; NLT).

Then Jesus wept (John 11:35; NLT).

Father, into your hands I commit my spirit (Luke 23:46; NIV).

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Mark 15:34; NLT).

Jesus was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit (Luke 10:21; NLT).

He was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood (Luke 22:44; NLT).

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (John 15:13; NIV).

Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me (Luke 9:23; NIV).

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Remember

Remember Christ’s birth;
And remember his love.

Remember his anguish;          
Remember his blood. 

Remember his faith; 
And remember his fear.

Remember his death,
And remember he’s here.

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She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them (Luke 2:7; NLT).

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (John 15:13; NIV).

He was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood (Luke 22:44; NLT).

This is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many (Matthew 26:28; NLT).

Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done (Luke 22:42; NIV).

Then Jesus shouted, “Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands!” And with those words he breathed his last (Luke 23:46; NLT).

Christ lives within you (Romans 8:10; NLT).

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Rain, your tears, Lord

Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head (Luke 9:58; NLT).

If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread (Matthew 4:3; NLT).

Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:7; NLT).

He was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood (Luke 22:44; NLT).

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Mark 15:34; NLT).

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Rain,
Your tears, Lord;
Sun,
Your light.

Stars,
Your beauty;
Frost,
Your night.

Fire,
Your anger;
Earth,
Your bed.

Rocks,
Your footpath;
Stones,
Your bread.

Blood,
Your life force;
Dust,
Your flesh.

Fear,
Your anguish;
Grief,
Your death.

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