Never Suffer Alone
Unless you’ve suffered—really suffered—the kind of racking pain and throbbing torture that seems without end, suffering is just another word in the dictionary.
But suffering’s grip can eclipse everything else in your life as it pounds, pounds, pounds your senses through each hour-long minute as you hope against hope it will pass.
I am about to share with you my story of suffering. This opened my eyes to others who suffer in a very profound way. While it did not directly involve cancer, I am very familiar with the suffering of cancer, as I have supported my son as he faced stage IV cancer.
May my story help you and many others suffering with cancer find hope, strength and peace. And may you never suffer alone again.
Alone in the night
I was suffering that night. Stricken with the rare disease called Babesiosis, a tickborne illness that destroys your red blood cells. My body was vomiting violently every half hour, the most violent sort of shaking, pointless convulsions. Even though I was in the hospital’s infectious disease ward, I was completely abandoned.
My doctor had himself taken ill and through an administrative slip-up no one was directing my care.
There, hunched over the sink in my hospital room, waiting for the next crushing episode, locked in the most intense pain of my life, reality dimmed. There was no future, no past, only the agony of the now. And I was losing my will to fight it.
A cry to God.
I cried out, “Oh God, hear my prayer for help.”
What followed was a vision, perhaps hallucination, but so real it surrounded me. I was looking at Earth from space, and from our planet, rising like golden strands of hair, were the prayers of millions of others crying to God for help in their suffering.
A voice inside me said, “So many millions are calling for my help. Why should I listen to your prayer?”
“Because I am your child,” I weakly answered. “Because I am trying to follow you, to be your son.”
“My son,” the voice said, “I did not promise you would not suffer; I promised you would not suffer alone.”
“Then will you come and suffer with me?” I asked. “I don’t want to be alone.”
In the next moment I could feel a physical presence, a warm feeling of someone standing beside me, their thigh pressing up against my shoulder. I knew, I just knew I was no longer alone.
It’s as if I was living the well-known words from Psalm 23:
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me.”
A peace that surpasses understanding
The vomiting did not stop. It continued through the night, growing even more painful as time passed. But I felt this presence with me. As insane as it may sound, there was now a joy in my suffering. God’s presence eclipsed my physical reality. I don’t understand how, I know it sounds crazy, but it happened.
While the suffering proved worse than I ever imagined, after I prayed, I never suffered alone. As I neared the brink of eternity, miraculously another infectious disease doctor figured out the cause of my sickness (he “coincidentally” treated someone with the same rare disease in his residency), and gave me treatment that staved it off.
A God who cares for the suffering
After a long recovery, I later came to discover more about the ministry of Jesus Christ. I was surprised to find Him not just some deity creature, but a person genuinely moved to heal the sick and to end their suffering.
As the book of Psalms from the Bible says, “My comfort in my suffering is this: your promise preserves my life (119:50).”
While I never would have chosen what I went through, God helped me through it, staying right by my side moment by moment when I asked for it. He stayed true to what he said in Deuteronomy 31:8: “I will never leave you or forsake you.”
Remembering my suffering gave me strength and hope to pray that God would help my son through the worst days of cancer, too.
As you endure pain from cancer or other diseases, entreat God to suffer alongside you, to help lift you through it. He will help you and never let you suffer alone.
If you currently are facing a dark hour, maybe you would like to pray the following prayer:
God, please come and help me. Please remove this suffering and be with me. Help me not to feel alone and free me from all fear. Be my Hiding Place, like the book of Psalms says. Please let there be a noticeable difference in my suffering, even a joy, because you are with me. Amen.
For more about Asking God for Help, click here.
To read more helpful words from the Bible, check out Words of Hope.
For help with starting a relationship with God visit Knowing God Personally.
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How to know God’s hope, strength and peace
Note: We are not doctors and we cannot answer your medical questions. However, we welcome your questions about finding hope and knowing God.