The blue, gold, pink and green string of Christmas lights shone in the darkness of my living room. I wanted to feel festive. Surely the display should make me glad, should fill me with joy, this season full of reminders of God's goodness, the celebration of our great King, come in that paradox of humility and majesty. Yet I was not thinking these thoughts I sat on my red-cushioned sofa, a leopard-print throw draped around my shoulders, feeling fear. I felt so well physically, I wondered out loud, "Could this good feeling last? What if the cancer returned?" I couldn't even remember the name of the wretched type of tumor that invaded my body. Stupidly, I got on my phone and found the tumor's name, the memory of experiencing chemotherapy seeming to choke me. Why had I done that? Dredged all that up? Now the grim name seemed to cast shadows in my living room filled with the vintage-colored lights.
Then, like always, the beauty and power of Scripture rescued me. I remembered that each time before I entered the chemo treatments, I read out loud Psalm 18. It is the Psalm that David wrote and sang to God after being saved from all his enemies and Saul. I needed rescue from my enemy. Each time I read David's words, I was revived with courage, with hope, with strength. I got out my Bible, its pages awash with a pink glow from the Christmas lights, and began to read out loud.
~I love you, God, you make me strong.
God is bedrock under my feet,
the castle in which I live,
my recusing knight.
My God--the high crag
where I run for dear life,
hiding behind the boulders,
safe in the granite hideout.
~God made my life complete
when I placed all the pieces before Him.
~God rewrote the text of my life
when I opened the book of my heart to His eyes.
~Is there any god like God?
Are we not at bedrock?
Is not this the God who armed me,
Then aimed me in the right direction?
~You protect me with salvation-armor,
You hold me up with a firm hand,
caress me with your gentle ways.
You cleared the ground under me
so my footing was firm. (Passages taken from Psalm 18, The Message)
Fear now pulverized, the ugly name of the tumor obliterated by the resplendence, efficacy and poetry of His Word. Life-giving, life-changing. Oxygen to my spirit. I had entered the gates of His presence. Safe. Free. Healed. Standing in the light.
And you, kind reader? Do you have Scripture that you go back to time and again? God so enjoys personalizing our experience with Him. He provides us passages that seem to leap off the page. You may want to go back to a passage that is meaningful to you. Or if you do not have a particular Scripture in mind, feel free to use Psalm 18. You may consider sitting in the glow of Christmas lights or a burning candle and reading out loud your passages. Are they not bedrock under your feet?