Not Forsaken

Markus is nearly finished his fourth round of chemo. It’s a long one, five days in a row. Two chemo drugs each day. This is the second time with this sequence, and they really wipe him out. He’s on five separate anti-nausea drugs at the same time and while he is comfortable, he’s also pretty groggy and is sleeping most of the time.

We read a Psalm every day together and a few days ago read Psalm 37 where we were challenged by this verse: “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Talk about a contradiction with what we are experiencing right now. The desire of our narrow-focused, and often selfishly motivated heart(s) is that Markus would not be battling Ewing Sarcoma, that he could be attending school and doing the things that all the youth his age are doing. And yet, we know that God has placed this suffering on our path for his good purpose. But how to embrace it? How to grow through it?

There are many aspects to suffering that have been studied and experienced. One of our former pastors even referred to a “theology of suffering.” We have just started to grow in suffering well and have much more to learn. Amid our questions and grappling with suffering we are confident that our experience is not random or without purpose.

Jennifer’s dad shares a blog with his grandkids, and shortly after Markus’ diagnosis he included this, God wanted it to be Markus. He was chosen by God to run this race with us to cheer and agonize and weep and laugh with him through it all.  And all the while God is teaching us to trust in Him.” We don’t know why Markus has cancer, but the rest of Psalm 37 teaches us that when we look to the Lord in faith and seek our happiness in Him, he will provide contentment regardless of our experiences. We remind ourselves with the words of the psalmist, “He will not forsake his saints.” That is our hope, the anchor for our souls.

We also know that suffering is the way to glory. We are comforted knowing that Jesus prepared the way for us by showing us how to suffer well during His life on earth – “Yet not what I will, but what you will.” He was forsaken so we wouldn’t be. He trusted his father, and as difficult as it is to always do this, we need to as well.

God willing, Markus will be able to go home on Saturday. We’re not sure exactly how things will go because his brother Micah has tested positive for COVID-19 and we’re all currently in isolation (both here in the hospital and at home). The hospital staff and Markus’ team of doctors have assured us that we should still be able to leave the hospital and rest up at home next week. Please pray that everything goes well for Markus and that his immunocompromised body will not be impacted by further infections or disease.

“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.” (Ps. 138:8)