A young hospital patient was facing the most fearful journey of her life. To be told that she had cancer at the mere age of seventeen, shattered her little world!
All of her hopes and dreams were ebbing away from her grasp. She wondered if she would be able to graduate from high school. Would she be able to go on to college, would she ever get married, would she one day get to hold her own child in her arms? All these things, the normal things of growing up, were silently slipping through her hands as she watched her body become something she didn’t even recognize. The chemo treatments took away her golden locks and covered her body with rashes and hives. She was sick all the time. Loneliness and sleeplessness consumed her night-times; while day-times were taken up with pain and agony and yet another doctor waiting to do yet another test. She fought her way through many tests and procedures, multiple surgeries, and treatment plans, only to be told that the cancer was getting worse. The treatments simply were not working for her.
Disappointed and frustrated, she lay on her hospital bed one night, thinking about her life. The questions started to swirl through her mind. What’s the point of living? What value is there to my life? I’m young and I’ve hardly accomplished a thing in life; will I ever get to do anything of value? Will anyone ever love me now? Will I live to see another birthday? Or will my cancer get the best of me? Oh, so many questions!
She laid back on her bed, exhausted. Sleep evaded her once again.
A few moments later, a hospital chaplain entered her room. At first she was tempted to send him away. But then, she said to herself, “I could ask him my questions and just see what he will say.” She invited him to come in and take a seat in the chair. She sat upright in the bed.
It was not long before her questions started tumbling through her mind and out her lips. There! She said those frustratingly annoying questions out loud.
Then she told the chaplain, “My family is overwhelmed with my cancer. They don’t really know what to do to help me. My friends, well, they are out having a good time and I am left behind. My teachers from school send me homework to do, but I cannot concentrate and besides that, what’s the point. And my God – yes, I believe in God – but, I feel like He too is MIA (missing in action). He does not seem to answer my prayers. He probably isn’t even listening to me half the time. I wonder though if He cares at all. I wonder if my life matters to Him. I have this ever growing fear that He is just going to let me die. Chaplain, I am afraid! I am afraid that there is no value to my life anymore. I wonder, what’s the point of living? I just wonder!”
Silence filled that hospital room for quite a few moments. Tears were streaming down the cheeks of this young cancer patient, while the chaplain looked on, deciding what best to say. Silently he prayed for wisdom from the God who tenderly looked upon His beloved child.
“Life is so full of puzzling questions, isn’t it?” the chaplain finally said.
“Ya think!” came the girl’s reply. “I just want to know what the answers are.”
“I’m not sure I have the answers to all those questions you have just asked me. In fact, I know I do not have the answers at all. And I am sorry about that. But, may I read to you something from the Bible, from the One who does have all of life’s answers – do you mind if I read to you?” he asked as he looked at her with loving concern.
“Sure! Read what you want. I don’t care.”
The chaplain took the Bible that he was holding in his hands, and he opened it. Clearing his throat, he began to read. “Jesus said, ‘Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But even the hairs of your head are numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows'” (Matthew 10:29—31).
The girl started to laugh. Oh, it felt good to laugh, but it also hurt. “The hairs of my head are all numbered! Really? Sir, have you seen my head?” She reached up to take her hat off, only to reveal a very bald head. “How many hairs?” she said as another laugh escaped from within her being. Now the chaplain began to laugh with her. Oh, yes, it feels so good to laugh!
As the laughter began to subside between them, the chaplain said to the young girl, “God has numbered every hair that you cannot see! He knows how many hairs you have on that beautiful head of yours. He also knows the value of your life, of every part of your life! You need not wonder what God thinks of you. You need not fear what God has planned for your life. You need not to fear that your life is over without any accomplishments. Cancer survival is one of the toughest accomplishments of any life. God sees your struggle, my dear young lady! Every moment of every day, He sees what you are going through, and He is right there with you. He feels your pain, and understands the agony of this dreadful disease called cancer. The Lord your God knows just how valuable you are to Him. You are of more value to Him than many sparrows.”
“I am?” the young girl’s laughter had now given way to tears. They had silently started to roll down her cheeks as the chaplain spoke to her. He noticed the tears, but didn’t say anything about them. He knew that her tears were healing to her spirit. He was just happy that she listened and heard his words to her. The truth of what the chaplain was saying was touching her heart in a way she never expected.
“I am? I am valuable to God?” the girl asked as she wiped away her own tears.
The chaplain simply nodded at her. He silently prayed as his words began to touch her heart.
“I am!” She laid her head back on the pillow. Pulling the covers up over her shoulders, she said again, “I am!” Allowing that truth to sink in just a little bit further, she closed her eyes, “I am!”
The chaplain sat with her until she had fallen fast asleep. He prayed that the truth she just learned would give her heart peace and her body a good night’s sleep.
I wonder, if anyone reading this post might need to hear that truth today. Your circumstances of life might be different from the girl in this story. Yet, you might just be asking some of the same questions about life. If so, please know, that I would like to pray for you. Please leave me a little comment to let me know.
To all the readers of this post – May this truth bring you peace and rest! Jesus says to you, “Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows!”