Last week, I experienced a holy moment. I went to pray with my friend Kim who (barring a miracle) is living the last days of her life.
Kim has been fighting Stage IV Ovarian Cancer, and after twenty four brutal rounds of chemotherapy, endless nights of vomiting and nausea, and finally participating in a cancer research test at Stanford, she has been told that there is nothing more they can do.
Over the last two years, friends and family have watched Kim’s faith soar on her Facebook page as she battled this terrible disease. Much like the YouTube video that surfaced last week of the double mastectomy dance party (http://nydn.us/1fmGqVu), Kim’s faith and hope danced across our computers with the message that this cancer was not going to beat her.
And it didn’t.
We all prayed for the miracle that her life would be restored. However the miracle we got was that her life was enlarged. Kim’s life became bigger than Kim.
With each successive day of facing this disease, her audience grew, and hundreds of people cheered her on in her battle. The harder the battle got, the more people watched. I think that’s because no one wonders how to live through joy.
Whether the scene Kim was living was hopeful or agonizing, I’m here to report that she nailed her part. She proclaimed her faith when she was in pain. She proclaimed her faith when she became bald. She proclaimed her faith when she couldn’t leave her bed. Though the circumstances she prayed for weren’t the circumstances she got, she accepted her answers and lived them heroically. And our faith grew watching her.
Ten out of ten die, yet when the prospect of death shows up in the lives of friends and family, it is always shocking. Like a dinner guest showing up on the wrong night, our response is to say “You can’t come in; you must come back another time.” However death is that guest you can’t turn away or control. It barges in uninvited, and sets it’s place at our table whether we are ready for it or not.
Faith in the face of death can go many ways, and one way is to say “It is God’s will that I must be healed.” There are those who say If you believe hard enough, well enough, and strong enough, healing will happen. If healing was measured by faith, Kim would have been healed a thousand times over in the last two years.
But she wasn’t.
Faith can also be abandoned in the face of death. “If God is allowing this to happen to me than he must not exist.” This has not been a thought that accompanied Kim’s battle, though we would have understood if it had.
Instead, Kim has chosen a third way to exercise faith in the face of her cancer. Fighting every day for her life, Kim has opened her hands to the will of God. And she has chosen the prayer of the Garden of Gethsemane to lead her in this journey.
In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was willing to experience God’s “no” so the world could experience God.
Kim has given us that same gift.
Thank you dear friend.