A friend of mine made a banner for me for my hospital room with Psalm 84:5-7 on it.
I’m on day 20 of my first round of chemotherapy for acute leukemia, in case you don’t already know that. I’ve been blogging about it at Thrilled to Death.
There’s some hardship involved in my chemotherapy, but it’s not nearly as hard as I expected. I’ve found out, though, that the marrow or stem cell transplant that’s coming will probably be worse and will last much longer—at least 6 months, and one man I talked to today had 18 months that he called bearable but extremely difficult.
So how do I face this?
Strength in God
How blessed is the man whose strength is in you.
The greatest opponent I’ve faced is my own strength, my own attempts to have a positive attitude and to expect the best. My faith is easily shaken. On a bad day, my mood can easily swing, and I question people’s motives and judge their behavior.
God’s strength, however, is never shaken. The one who delights in the Lord is consistently supplied with grace, which Psalm 1 pictures as a tree planted by a flowing river which never runs dry.
"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee. (Isaiah 26:3)"
If I’ve learned anything in the last five weeks—yeah, it’s only been five weeks since I was diagnosed!—it’s that I have to live right now. God has grace for right now, not grace for next week, six months from now, or next year.
The rest of that passage in Psalm 84 provides two awesome promises:
From Weeping to Springs of Life
Passing through the valleys of Baca, they make it a spring.
Baca is Hebrew for "weeping."
What an awesome picture! For those whose strength is in God, their weeping produces springs that feed those behind them.
You can probably draw your own analogies from that picture.
From Strength to Strength
They go from strength to strength. Every one of them appears before God in Zion.
If I’ve learned anything else over the last five weeks, it’s that strength is not continuous. Yesterday’s grace is not sufficient for today. I’m sure there’s really awesome Christians somewhere who never wander from the presence of God and pray without ceasing.
I’m not one of them.
But I do know what it’s like to go from strength to strength. I do know that the sea of grace is inexhaustible and can be tapped anew each day. I do know that the mercies of God are new every morning, and I know what it’s like to appear before God in Zion, though that last one is a story for a different day.
To sum up, let me encourage you that today is the day to let your strength be in Jesus Christ, to keep your mind stayed on him, and to know that yesterday’s grace won’t carry you today, and that there is no grace for tomorrow until tomorrow.