“I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.” Psalm 18:1-3
Is God the source of your strength? Do you trust Him as your refuge in times of trouble?
“Veronica has always been full of surprises,” Roberta says. “Since childhood she’s been a bundle of energy, has loved life, and relishes travel. In fact, she turned fifteen up in the air one summer while on her very first mission trip to Poland and the Czech Republic.” Many more short-term mission trips followed in the next fifteen years. But the real surprise came when Veronica announced to her parents, John and Roberta, that she felt God was calling her into full-time mission’s work—six time zones away.
“She had a great job that she loved, so my first thought was, But what about your dream job? And then I thought about the realities, as moms do, and I asked how much it would pay and if it included medical insurance. She explained she’d be fund-raising and would have to get her own insurance.”
During a trip to Europe she felt exhausted, and while there, she noticed that her glands were swollen. She went to a doctor but was referred to an oncologist.
“Sitting in the oncologist’s office was like sitting in the midst of a heavy fog. Was this really happening? Is this for real? The tests were back. Results were in. The doctor’s words: ‘Stage 4 non-Hodgkin lymphoma. It’s treatable, but it’s not curable.’
“My thoughts and feelings just kept revolving around and around in my head,” Roberta remembers. “It was hard to sleep because so much was on my mind. I was teaching second grade at the time, and my students would ask me if my daughter was going to die.”
At the same time that Veronica was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, the nursing home personnel where Roberta’s father lived told her to call in hospice for him. “It was a daddy-daughter struggle!” Roberta says. “But I remembered that my Abba Daddy was with me every stop of this nightmare. In fact, sometimes He just carried me.
“I was the mom. A mom takes care of her children, but I couldn’t fix cancer! I couldn’t just whip out a bandage and heal my little girl as I had done so many times in the past. I felt helpless. Thank God for God! I have no idea how people without Him handle tragedy. He was so close to our entire family and continued to remind us to keep our confidence in Him.”
Roberta says there were two things she did that helped her during this journey. “A coworker gave me a ‘praying cross’ that fits into the palm of my hand. The ladies at her church prayed over it, and when I went to bed at night, I would hold it and also pray. It symbolizes that Jesus is holding on to me as I hold on to the cross. Many days all I could pray was His name. . Jesus. I was confident He knew my heart, and He didn’t need a lot of words.”
As Roberta loosened her grip on Veronica, she was able to strengthen her grip on her heavenly Father, and her faith was continually deepened.
Lord, give me the strength to handle the trials in life. Help me sense Your presence and to draw closer to You. Amen