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,

Drink this cup

I wrote this prayer today (5.9.18), at 7.30am, before a hospital visit:

Sit down, my child,
And drink this cup
Of suffering,
Which I have brought. 

Remember all 
That Jesus did,
And practice all
That Jesus taught.

And do not fear
What lies ahead –
The sickness, pain,
And suffering –

Just fix your heart
Upon the prize:
Eternal life,
With Christ, your King.

At 4pm the same day, I learned that I have two invasive cancers in my left breast, so will be having surgery soon. When it seems appropriate, I’ll include news of what’s happening with my daily blogs. If I miss a day or two, which I’ve never done before, you will know there’s a good reason.

References

Shall I not drink from the cup of suffering the Father has given me? (John 18:11; NLT).

Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows (John 16:33; NLT).

Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? (Matthew 6:27; NLT).

Be strong, and do not fear (Isaiah 35:4; NLT).

I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong (2 Corinthians 12:10; KJV).

I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us (Philippians 3:14; NLT).

For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3; NLT).

Look, your King is coming to you. He is humble, riding on a donkey – riding on a donkey’s colt (Matthew 21:5; NLT). 

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May I love you

Father,
May I love you,

Jesus,
May I serve you,

Spirit,
May I be your shrine

Each moment
Of my life.

……………………………….

References

You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind (Luke 10:27; NLT).

Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all” (Mark 9:35; NIV).

Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16; NKJV).

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A hundred thousand stages

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them (Romans 12.9; NLT).

This is the secret: Christ lives in you (Colossians 1:27; NLT).

It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me (Galatians 2:20; NLT). 

Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ (Ephesians 4:15; NLT).

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Jesus,
By a hundred thousand stages,

May we learn to love all beings –
Just like you. 

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The Spirit of God

Let us praise the Lord,
Our heavenly Father,

Who sent the Christ,
His Son, in whom we trust;

For the Spirit of our God
Lives in Christ Jesus,

And the Spirit of Christ Jesus
Lives in us.

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God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16; NLT).

I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark (John 12:46; NLT).

He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him (Matthew 3:16; NLT).

Those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all (Romans 8:9; NLT).

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May your light cheer us

God is light (1 John 1:5; NIV). 

The Lord is peace (Judges 6:24; NLT).

The Spirit is truth (1 John 5:6; NKJV). 

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

God is love (1 John 4:16; NLT).

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said (Matthew 4:19; NIV).

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Lord, 

May your light
Cheer us,

Your peace 
Fill us,

Your truth
Inspire us,

Your fire
Cleanse us,

And your love
Strengthen us –

So we can follow Jesus,
Your dear Son.

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Our task

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged (Matthew 7:1-2; NLT).

Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ (Ephesians 5:2; NLT).

We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ (Ephesians 4:15; NLT).

He loves us with unfailing love (Psalm 117:2; NLT).

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Father,

Our task
Isn’t judging
Other people,

Or telling them
What they should
Say and do.

Instead,

It’s to become
Much more
Like Jesus –

Righteous,
Holy,
Loving all,

Like you.

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