Updated: Dec 15, 2022
Today, my friend Megan shares her heart with us. I've known Megan since we were young girls. Over the last few years I have had the privilege of watching her walk through one of the hardest things any mother can experience. You will be encouraged as she points us to Christ and challenges us to be a good steward of suffering. Be sure to go check out Megan's blog after reading this post!
When my six-year-old daughter was diagnosed with cancer, my whole world seemed to go dim. Cancer. It was heavy, dark, and unknown. I knew she (we) were going to suffer. Like any mother, I wanted to do everything in my power to prevent that. I mean I could heal scrapes with kisses and comfort bad dreams with snuggles. But I couldn’t heal this. I felt helpless.
One day in the thick of her treatment, after a hard week of chemo, she was feeling a little better and said a snow-cone sounded good. So we got the family in the car and went into town for a snow-cone. However, as we pulled up she began throwing up everywhere in the car. Crying excessively about how bad her head and body hurt. There was no consoling. And it was incredibly painful to watch. For the first time in our journey I heard her say in anguish, “I don’t want cancer anymore!” I prayed in that moment, “Lord, if you’re going to take her, take her now, because my heart cannot bear to watch the suffering anymore.” It was there the Lord met me in the most intimate way and spoke into the corners of my heart, “I know exactly what it’s like to watch your child suffer.” I took great comfort in that.
If He can take the worst day in history and use it for the greatest good, then I can trust that He will do good with my suffering too.
Now, 2 1/2 years later on the other side of fear, I see that suffering is truly a gift. Actually, suffering is many gifts. In a way, I wish everyone could have cancer. I know that sounds a little crazy. But I wish you could experience cancer so that you can experience God in the rarest form and all the gifts that come with your suffering.
Suffering has the unique ability to remind you of what truly matters. When you’re wading the water of deep suffering you have no other choice but to sink or swim. You see, when terribly dark trials come (and they will come), I either believe God is Sovereign and is working for my good and His glory, or I don’t. There is no in between. Deep suffering throws away the petty things and shows you that what really matters—following Jesus, loving His people, sharing His Word. So, after grappling with my unwanted present suffering, I began to change my thinking. I couldn’t change my circumstance. I had to believe I was in this for a purpose. So how could I be a good steward of my suffering?
Stewardship is careful and responsible management of something that has been entrusted. That day in that car covered in throw up and tears was a turning point for me. I had been entrusted with this suffering. I knew the Lord was at work, but was I being a good steward of my pain? Not really. I had seen many gifts or products of our suffering already, but I knew I could be used more. I knew that I could turn my suffering into worship. And instead of wallowing in it, I could rise up.
A friend of mine once said, “Diligence is focusing on what you want most, not what you want right now.” I want the suffering to be over right now. But I ultimately want Christ glorified. So I’ll work to be a diligent steward of my suffering.
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
I’m still unwrapping all the gifts that have and will come with this season of suffering for me. I’m still working on being a good steward. But the products of my suffering will be joy, endurance, character, and hope. Whatever suffering you’re in right now, be a good steward. Your suffering won’t be wasted.
Megan is a pastor’s wife, social worker, and a homeschool mom of four. She loves Jesus and the Arkansas Razorbacks. In her spare time you can find her gardening, baking, cheering on her favorite teams, and camping with her family.