Thursday, June 03, 2010

June 3, 2010 - Touched By an Angel

“During my illness, I had the presence of an angel that came and visited me...” This is a remarkable video, from the Livestrong website. The speaker is Matthews Brown, a leukemia survivor. It’s just under 4 minutes long, so it won’t take too much time away from whatever else you’re doing.

In the course of my ministry, I’ve heard some remarkable stories of spiritual experiences. I’ve never seen an angel, myself (at least, not the supernatural variety). Based on what I’ve heard from others, though, I’d say Matthews’ experience is unusual, but not as unusual as all that. Things like this happen to people more often than you may think.

We’ve all heard the truism, “God never gives us more than we can handle.” I found that to be true of my own cancer experience. From the square marked “Go,” it looks like it's a long way around the spiritual Monopoly board, but you do find yourself “passing Go” from time to time and collecting $200.

Let us give thanks for unsolicited, grace-filled experiences, through which we learn what remarkable spiritual resources are available to us, and how deeply we are loved!

If you’re a cancer survivor, how has the spiritual side of the experience been for you?


Aimee said...

wow...well, i've had to 'blog' my way through it. and it hasn't been easy. i don't tend to really believe that God doesn't give us more than we can handle. in fact, in my own life, he's given me waaaaaaaaay more than i can handle- on my own. He's gotten me, time and time again, on my knees before Him. i know that people see and experience God differently. i have more often than not felt like i was wrestling with God over my cancer, because it's not something i wanted, or appreciated. i haven't really asked, "why me", but more, "why this", and "how much more, Lord"? i must be one tough nut to crack! there's a lot i could say about this....lots of levels, even to the spiritual aspect of the cancer experience. but the one thing i can really succinctly say is that cancer takes a hell of a lot from us. we don't just need physical healing, but spiritual and emotional healing too......and that by far is the more laborious and long-term aspects of healing from cancer....

Whidbey Woman said...

So happy to come across your blog.
My husband has been battling Colon Cancer since 2005. Our faith has sustained us. I can't even begin to imagine what this journey would be like without Jesus!

Carl said...

To Aimee and "Whidbey Woman": Thanks to both of you for posting.

Yes, indeed, cancer is a spiritual experience, and by no means an easy one. My thoughts are led back, again and again, to the biblical story of Jacob wrestling with the angel. He left the encounter limping, but having achieved a measure of victory over his adversary, all the same. So it often is, with cancer...

Anonymous said...

Hi, Carl -
Haven't checked your blog in a while - between email and Facebook, my computer time is already out of control. But tonight I clicked over just to get back in touch. And I have to say that I don't believe "God doesn't give us more than we can handle." Aimee may have said it in a way I can accept it, by adding "on my own".

But in considering the truth of that statement, I always think of those for whom suicide was the only solution. Was suicide God's answer/gift for them? If not, it seems that they did indeed have more than they could handle - and many of those have been faithful, prayerful folk.

I'm more inclined to believe that God gives us strength, comfort, people (angels), and options to meet challenges that God knows we'll face; just as God equips those whom God calls for the task before them. And often that brings peace and sufficient acceptance. But for some in extremis, death or unconsiousness are the only way to handle it.

Actually, I think shock and unconciousness are indeed gifts of God to the human person. (And of course, I've limited my observations to physical pain and illness here, so my comments are insufficient for mental, emotional, and spiritual ills.)

I know this phrase is a comforting thought - for the woman I met in the ICU waiting room, for those in the midst of critical medical situations (in two of the situations I'm thinking of - it's the spouse who claims this phrase, not the person who is ill - not sure if that matters).

To me, it's in the same category as "Thank God (or by the grace of God) my brother/spouse/friend wasn't on the plane that crashed." If that's an answer to a prayer, what about the folk who were on the plane - and what about the prayers that ascended from their loved ones? I just don't think it works that way. (And now I'm into theodicy and I'm in way over my head!!)

just my two cents -