Something Encouraging

Just yesterday, I learned that one of my former students (one that’s always brought me joy) was recently diagnosed with stage four cancer.  Now, normally this would not be met with a “Something Encouraging” post – but this case, I think, is an exception.

The reason I find myself encouraged despite all the “bad news” going around is the fact that Kayla herself has looked on her illness and smiled.  Not a devious, I-can-conquer-you sort of smile, but a pleasant one.  A smile that says, “Thanks, God – for always doing the unexpected.  And can you pull me through this one, like you’ve always done before?”

map2

(Kayla’s prayer map)

Here’s what she writes on her blog:

I am so overwhelmed with so many emotions… One is “Why me?” But two weeks ago, I was crying out to God in the middle of a slum in Africa, “Why NOT me?” 

Why did God choose Alice to be born and raised in Kayole slum instead of me? Why did God choose Grace to be orphaned in Kibera slum instead of me? Why them? Why not me? And honestly, I don’t know. 

So I just have to keep reminding myself that God works ALL things together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. He is taking the bad things in Alice’s life, in Grace’s life, and in my life, and he’s knitting them together to make something beautiful. Someday I’ll be able to see the big picture, but for now, I am choosing to walk by faith and trust God… Cancer scares me, but it doesn’t scare God. I’m going to learn so much during this time, so even though I’m scared out of my mind, I’m ready.

Her attitude reminds me of a story my students read every year in English class.  It’s an excerpt from Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago – a shocking account of life in Soviet concentration camps.  In it, Solzhenitsyn writes his response to what non-believers call the Problem of Suffering (or, in laymen’s terms – why God allows bad things to happen to good people) :

The only solution to this would be that the meaning of earthly existence lies not, as we have grown used to thinking, in prospering, but in the development of the soul.  

In other words, God is far more interested in our soul’s growth than in our wellness – and we should be too.  “From that point of view,continues Solzhenitsyn, suffering “is inflicted on those whose development… holds out hope.”

And it is just that hope – and Kayla’s trust in it – that gives me cause for great encouragement.

To follow and stand beside Kayla in her journey, check out her webpage and blog – and if you’re the praying sort, do pray.

4 thoughts on “Something Encouraging

  1. Amazing. I am overwhelmed by the courage God is giving her, and also her faithfulness. Thanks so much for sharing, Alan! Such a reminder that we are God’s and not here for our comfort but rather for His purpose! I’m excited to be in prayer for Kayla.

  2. Her prayer and acknowledgement of God’s Sovereignty is so encouraging. That young woman has been given a lot of grace and she has chosen to accept it…the grace, I mean. God’s blessings on her.

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