Nearly two years ago, I was sitting in an uncomfortable chair in the emergency room. Despite the busyness of the nursing staff around me, I felt alone, and scared. It was after midnight, and my husband had been whisked away to have tests done. Several hours later, I knew something was wrong, when three grim-looking doctors came into the room. They explained that my husband did not have a concussion as previously thought, that he had actually experienced a stroke. My heart began to pound, my hands shook, and a flood of emotions raged in my chest.
However scary that moment was, in just a few months, I would be praising God that my husband had that stroke! For it was because of an imaging test done that night, that his thyroid cancer was discovered.
Yet, at that moment in the emergency room, I was not very thankful.
A year later, after my husband’s thyroid had been removed, and his radioactive iodine treatment was complete, I was once again, sitting in another uncomfortable chair. This time, in a hospital room, next to my husband’s bed. I was holding his hand., as another surgeon explained to us that my husband had stage 3 colorectal cancer.
I’m pretty sure I had a hard time expressing thankfulness at that moment.
Yet, here I am today, expressing deep thankfulness to my Heavenly Father! Not only for the trials He allowed in our lives the last two years, but for His kindness. Our family is a living testament to the fact that God is kind to the unthankful! Despite the fears and the sorrows we have had in the last 2 years, God has showered us with His tender care.
“But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.” – Luke 6:35
He showed us kindness through His comforting word. There is something about the scripture that comes to life when you are walking in a valley. Suddenly, verses you have read a hundred times before, have new meaning and understanding. Comfort and hope are found in abundance throughout the scripture! On the day that I watched my husband struggle to walk because of his chemo treatment, I felt the Comforter’s hand on my shoulder as I was reading Psalms 139. Yes, God is kind to the unthankful!
He showed us kindness through our brothers and sisters in Christ. The visits to hospital rooms, cards in the mail, hot meals, and thoughtful gifts to our family, all helped to ease our present suffering. One day, I had found myself standing in the adult diaper section of the grocery store. I was angrily swiping away tears, trying to decide what size my husband would need. Once I got home, I had allowed myself to become filled with rage. How could radiation do this to my husband!? Throwing open the mailbox, I angrily yanked out the package that was tucked inside. The return address showed it had come from dear Christian friends who recently moved to Florida. Angrily ripping it open, the first thing I pulled out was a package of Dove chocolates – my favorite! Suddenly, my tears of anger had changed into tears of thankfulness that God would be so kind to unthankful me!
He showed us kindness by providing our needs. Because of the aggressive treatments, my husband had to cut back his work hours. Yet, we never missed paying a bill, we never missed a meal, we never had to wear clothes with holes in them, and our vehicles continued running! Once, toward the end of my husbands treatments, we realized we wouldn’t be able to pay the kids school bill. I made arrangements with the principle and the business office to delay our payment. We weren’t sure how we would be able to pay it. We never mentioned our financial situation to anyone, not even family. Yet, a few days later, we received a card in the mail with money in it- more than enough money to pay the school bill! God showed us kindness by making provision for our every need!
He showed us kindness by answering prayer. God not only answered our own personal prayers, but also the prayers of others who were praying on our behalf. During the moments we had reason to be afraid or down, our spirits were lifted. My husband was positive about his cancer prognosis, and I never once struggled with anxiety! Those things alone made us know that we were being covered in prayer. When my husband’s chemo had become particularly difficult, he had an appointment with his oncologist. The doctor asked if my husband needed a refill on his pain medication. When he learned my husband wasn’t taking pain medication, he was shocked. “In all my years of being an oncologist, you are my first cancer patient that hasn’t needed pain medication!” My husband replied, “that is because God is answering the prayers of my brothers and sisters in Christ!” Yes, God is truly kind to the unthankful!
The wonderful thing about being a Christian is that God loves to shower His children exceedingly and abundantly beyond what they deserve or even ask! Here are just a couple more of the many little ways God was kind to us!
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,” – Ephesians 3:20
Last spring, we took a family trip to the Creation Museum. We were going to have to leave early because my son had broken the flat screen TV in our hotel room. We didn’t have the money to pay for it and eat the next day. Once we arrived at the museum, we bumped into some friends. I never mentioned the broken TV, but at the end of our conversation, the lady slipped me a handful of money and said, “God told me to give this to you.” Our family was able to stay the entire day as originally planned and pay for the broken TV!
There was another time I was feeling particularly sorry for myself. My husband couldn’t get away from the cancer clinic long enough to go on our yearly camping trip. How I longed to get away from “cancer” for just one day! However, because of his weakness from treatments, my husband couldn’t camp in a tent. The cabins I had looked into were all booked up until September. During the last couple weeks of summer, I received a phone call from a campground. “We have an opening in a cabin you were asking about. Are you still interested in a one night stay?” Um, YES!!
So this week, our family will be joining the millions of other American families who celebrate Thanksgiving. We will carve a turkey and watch football. We will eat pumpkin pie. We will play games and laugh until we cry. We will thank God for my husbands healing from his stroke, and his remission from his cancers. And we will be thankful for all the kindness our God has shown to us, when we were so unthankful!