He Is

Isa 51:12
I shoved my feet into my boots and grabbed a pair of mittens before I headed out the door towards the crusty snow that formed a dirty blanket in the field across from our house.

I turned back once and saw the warm lights of our home mocking me. Cancer?! In our house? Pedro and I had great jobs that we loved and two beautiful daughters who we loved even more. And now a monster had shoved it’s way into our tight-knit family of four.

Relatives had come to help out and comfort, and the words I wanted to say to one of them had impelled me out the door before I lost my tongue. Ms. Bossy had been blithely arranging my life without my consent, and my resentment had reached critical mass.

As I lurched through the snow (it’s not easy to walk in snow that has a three inch crust with two feet of powder underneath), I cried in frustration. Why had this happened to US? What had we done to deserve a cancer diagnosis?

A strange lump on Pedro’s neck and intense shoulder pain had turned into a menacing cancer diagnosis. Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, they said. A very curable cancer, they said. One of the better types of cancer to have, they said.

Family and community gathered to comfort us. Sometimes, our ‘comforter’s’ opinionated and forceful advice often caused hysteria to well within me: Carrot juice enemas will cure his cancer! We’ll watch your kids for you (and keep tabs of all expenses—both monetary and emotional—so you can pay us back later). You need to visit OUR doctor, who is clearly superior to your current doctor. Eat more garlic and the cancer will cure itself.

While Pedro good naturedly listened to all their comfort and accepted their promises of help, there was no one who I felt really understood ME and my position. Their ‘comfort’ only made me angry or amused. I wanted answers. Solutions. A Heavenly How-To Handle Cancer Handbook dropped at my feet would be nice.

Instead, it seemed as if all I’d gotten was a bossy relative whose attempts to comfort felt more like fingernails on a chalkboard. All of my close friends and family lived far away—we’d lived in the community for less than a year.

My tromping feet couldn’t keep up with my spinning mind. I reached the middle of the empty field and stopped—too exhausted to move another step. My tear and snot-soaked mittens didn’t protect my freezing hands, and my brain and heart felt just as frozen.

“Why, God? Why? Who’s going to comfort ME?” I yelled. I looked around, hoping to see the answer written in the waning sunlight. Old Baldy, covered with pinked snow from the sunset, stared silently back at me. I turned to the left, and the Gallatin Range glittered in its grandeur as the last rays of sunlight silhouetted their majestic peaks.

A warm breeze filled with the hope of spring wafted across my face. “I am.” The thought popped into my head—distinct and full of promise. In that moment, I knew I had found my comforter.

God himself had answered my plea for a comforter—and he offers the same to you. (tweet this)

“I, even I, am he who comforts you.” Isaiah 51:12.

He’s there, waiting in the midst of your sorrow, confusion, fatigue, and frustration. He’s there, friend, waiting to comfort you.

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Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a 'recovering cancer caregiver' who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

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