At this time last year my Dad was battling lung cancer for the second time. He had just been given his diagnosis and a pretty grim prognosis. He was the pastor of a small church, having attended seminary in his 50s after a long career in the Air Force and another brief but very successful career as a mortgage broker. He loved to preach and teach God’s Word. On Palm Sunday, he was to give his last sermon. He was planning to retire after Easter Sunday and begin intensive treatments for his cancer, but Easter Sunday’s service was a cantata and he would have been singing, not preaching. But the weekend of his last sermon, the tumor in his lungs wrapped tendrils around his vocal chords and he lost his voice suddenly and almost completely. He had to deliver his last sermon in a whisper, and he wasn’t able to sing the Lord’s praises on Easter Sunday. I can’t imagine how painful and humbling this must have been for him.
This also meant that we couldn’t talk by phone anymore, it was impossible to understand him, frustrating for both of us. Thank the Lord for the technology of FaceTime to bridge the gap! We both had iPhones and could video chat with our phones. Even though I still couldn’t hear him, I could see his face, and being able to read his lips while he whispered made communication possible. It was a great blessing to me because I felt so helpless being so far away (he was in Missouri and I am in Colorado). So shortly after he lost his voice completely, I came across these verses. Through God’s grace alone I memorized them almost instantly and was able to share them with my Dad via FaceTime. They became sort of a theme for us during this difficult time, and we would quote portions to each other for encouragement. They are a comfort to me still, and probably the single most important verses for carrying me through the ordeal of watching my beloved Dad suffer and die.
2 Corinthians 4:6-9, 16-18
New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)
6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
At I write this I have just returned from California where I attended the funeral of a dear friend who endured a lifetime of health struggles and suffering. It is so encouraging to me to know that both my sweet Lorraine and my darling Dad believed with all their hearts that though outwardly they were wasting away, inwardly they were being renewed day by day., and that their light and momentary troubles, which to me didn’t seem light at all, were achieving for them an eternal glory that far outweighed them all. Thank you Lord for the comfort of these verses, a year ago, today, and in any and all trials to come. It’s all light and momentary, and achieving an eternal glory that far outweighs any trial.
This year in scripture memory has been so different, working on Jesus’s sermon on the mount with a group of women rather than choosing verses which spoke to me first, then I committed to memory. This year I work at memorizing the verses, sometimes for weeks, before I even feel that I understand their meaning. But when they become clear, Wow. So incredibly powerful. I suspect that this year’s verses will change my life in ways I can’t even imagine right now. If you are interested in joining in the discussion of this amazing sermon, please click here.
New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)
25 “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26 I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
It’s your turn, sisters. Please post the verses you are working on now, how they are moving you, and the verses you memorized last year if you have done this before. Thank you so much for reading, I look forward to hearing from you! I am so grateful for each and every one of you.